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By Major L. A. WADDELL 

L.L.D., F.L.S., etc., Indian Army Medical Corps, 
Author of "The Buddhism of Tibet" 


With numerous Illustrations by A. D. McCormick 
the Author and others, and from Photographs. 



2 Whitehall Gardens 



T O 






The grandest part of the grandest mountains on the 
globe has, strange to say, no book devoted to it, except 
one that was written about half a century ago. Since that 
time, however, these lofty regions, on the rugged borders 
of Tibet, have become much more accessible. Roads have 
penetrated the mountain fastnesses in nearly every direction 
in the state of Sikhim, a Switzerland of the East, situated 
in the heart of the Himalayas, within sight of the culminating 
pinnacle of the world, Mount Everest. The worst torrents 
have been bridged, and travellers' staging-houses have been 
erected along some of the chief routes, thus facilitating the 
exploration of these mighty mountains, and creating a desire 
for further and more general information in regard to them 
and their quaint Tartar tribes, than is to be found in 
Hooker's Journals. ' 

Having visited many of the less frequented parts, and 
possessing an intimate knowledge of the social and political 
state of most of the primitive tribes, I venture to hope that 
some account of my travels may contribute to the supply 
of this want. During the past fourteen years I have traversed 
portions of this region nearly every year, sketching, shooting, 
collecting, and especially exploring the customs of the people 
on the frontiers of Tibet, and of Nepal — the land of the 
warlike Goorkhas — where I lived in tents for four or five 
months of several successive years. In regard to the more 
interesting tribes, such as the Lepchas, who are fast dying 


out or losing their ancient customs, I have endeavoured 
to rescue some of the curious practices of these wild and 
primitive people; and I have simplified, as far as possible, 
most of the uncouth native names which, while they add 
to the mystery of these Tibetan borderlands, are so repellant 
to the general reader. * 

To render the narrative more complete, I have added in 
respect to some glaciers and peaks, which were not reached 
by Hooker or myself, a summary of the descriptions of 
these by Sherwill, Graham, White, and Hoffman, and also 
some geological notes by VV. T. Blanford, mostly from 
reports that are buried away in more or less inaccessible 
journals. Mount Everest I approached somewhat nearer 
than any European except Hooker; and I here record 
some new research respecting it and other peaks alleged 
to be still higher. 

The commercial possibilities of Tibet are also referred 
to. This mysterious land has at the present time a very 
special interest for us, in view of the imminent disintegration 
of China. Its gold-mines, which are probably the richest 
in the world, should alone make it of commercial importance, 
though most of this riches lies in regions almost as inhospit- 
able as Klondyke. Much of the country, however, is habit- 
able and has many promising resources undeveloped. And 
with an English protectorate over Tibet, replacing the 
shadowy Chinese suzerainty over that country, and the rich 
valley of the Yangtse up to the border of Eastern Tibet 
secured within the English "sphere of interest". England 
would not only prevent a possible Russian wedge being 
interposed between her Indian, Burmese and Chinese pos- 
sessions, but she would consolidate her position from the 
Indian Ocean to the Northern Pacific, and gain thereby 
the paramount position throughout Asia. 


The illustrations are specially numerous, and it is hoped 
that they will bring vividly before the eyes of the reader 
truthful pictures of the scenery and people. As most of them 
are photographs, and these as well as the careful sketches 
by Colonel Tanner and myself and others, done on the spot, 
and the sympathetic drawings by that Himalayan artist, 
Mr. McCormick, based on my photographs, have all been 
reproduced by photo-mechanical processes, they are not 
open to the objections offered to the illustrations in Hooker's 
Journals, that they " do not convey by any means a correct 
impression ; like most lithographs of foreign scenes printed 
in England the characteristic features are lost . . , everything 
is Europeanised." 3 For several of the photographs I am 
indebted to the kindness of Mr. Hoffmann, and especially 
for the splendid one on the title page — an icy horn that 
lifts its glittering pinnacle about 7,000 feet higher than Mont 
Blanc, and surpasses the Weisshorn in boldness and grace. 

These attractive regions, still to a large extent unexplored, 
should arrest the attention of travellers and climbers thirst- 
ing for fresh fields of adventure. Their valleys vie with 
the Andes of Brazil and Peru as the paradise of the 
butterfly and orchid-hunter. And, above all, there is the 
varied ever-present human interest of the many Tartar 
tribes, with their wild picturesque characters, customs, and 
idyllic surroundings; and the awe at once forbidding and 
alluring of the strange inhospitable land beyond the 

The facilities for travel, in the way of roads and rest- 
huts, are increasing every year since the recent war with 
Tibet, detailed in these passages, which has brought Sikhim 
more closely under British suzerainty. Thanks to the energy 
of the British agent, Mr. White, most of the objection- 
able cane-bridges that beset our path have now mostly 


been replaced by substantial iron structures. The attractive 
valley of Choombi, if ever it shall become British territory, 
as it might have done, will surpass most parts of Cashmere. 
And already, is it not a great deal to find that the new 
roads bring the glaciers of Kanchen-junga, itself one of 
the most magnificent mountains in the world and almost 
the highest, within five or six days of Darjeeling, which is 
under one day's journey from Calcutta, which is less than 
three weeks from England. 

This illustrated narrative of my journeyings I hope may 
reflect, in some measure, the keen enjoyment of travel in 
these regions, may awaken further interest in a fascinat- 
ing though little known land, may assist in guiding the 
traveller to those features that are of greatest general 
interest, and bring home to the reader a whiff of the 
bracing breezes of the Himalayas. 


London, December 1898. 


To Darjeeling and the Preparations for our Journey. 

The views and the people — Special difficulties of travel in the interior 
of the Central Himalayas — Our arrangements I 

The Start and Cross into Native Sikhim. 

Troubles at starting — Nepalese fair and Feast of Lanterns — Tea-Gardens— 
Lama-Temple and bloody sacrifices— The country — Lepchas in the 
jungle — Great Rang-eet Valley — Our camp . 61 

Up the Teesta Valley to the King's Capital. 

The Tribes of Sikhim — The Lepchas — A Native Chief and his Government — 
Legends — Crossing a torrent by a rickety cane-bridge — The Land- 
Leeches and a climb 90 

At the Capital of Sikhim to the Threshold of the Snows. 

The King and Queen — Their relations with the British — Intrigues with 
the Chinese — Monks and Monasteries — The Upper Teesta to the 
Threshold of the Snows 136 


The Alpine Lachoong Valley to the Tibetan Frontier 

and Passes. 

Amongst the Yaks and Tibetans — Tang-kar snowfield — Death of a fellow- 
traveller — Tibetan guard and their captain— Dong-kia and other passes 
and glaciers — The true Himalayas or Abode of Snow — An unexplored 
pass, and a survey beyond into Tibet 165 


The Lachen Valley and Eastern Glaciers 

of Kanchen-junga. 

Political Missions to Tibet — Eastern Glaciers of Kanchen-junga — 
Zemu glacier 230 



Through British Bhotan to Darjeeling. 

( Hir food from the jungle — Snakes — Christian Missions — Turbulent 
Bhotanese, and our annexation of their country — Tibetan traders — 
The wild horse — Junction of Rang-eet and Teesta — Locust plague. 239 


To the Eastern Pass of the Jelep, and the 

Scene of the late War. 

On the line of an army in the field — Storming the Tibetan fort at 
Lingtoo — The Anglo-Chinese Convention — The highest European 
fort in the world — Jelep pass, the trade route to Lhasa and Pekin — 
The Choombi valley, its political and strategical importance — How 
places are named — Game in the Bhotanese Terai — The Koch tribe — 
Lepcha songs and music — Cinchona plantations 255 


Along the Nepal Frontier towards Everest, etc. 
to Sandook-phu and Faloot. 

The warlike Goorkhas and conquest of Nepal — Their recent adoption 
of Hindooism — The other tribes of Nepal — Paradise of the orchid- 
hunters — Rhododendron forests — View from Tonglu — Sandook-phu, 
"the hill of the poison-plant" and its scenery — A Nepalese frozen dead 
in the snow — Faloot Peak — Mauled by Bears — Everest, its names and 
form — Peaks higher than Everest 300 


The Southern Peaks and Glaciers of the 

Kanchen-junga Group. 

Spectre of the Brocken — The "Singalelah ridge" a misnomer — Ridge 
beyond Chow-banjan — Camping under difficulties — Yampoong yak- 
station and its Tibetan herdsmen — Jongri and the Guicha pass to 
Pandim and the glaciers of Kanchen-junga — Kanchen-junga, its form 
and structure — Its worship by the natives — Mr. Graham's ascent of 
"Kabru" — Expert opinion and evidence on this claim to the highest climb. 360 


The Kang Pass for the Western Glaciers 

of Kanchen-junga and for Jannu— 

Nepalese jealous exclusiveness. 

Across the unexplored Dui and Chambab passes into Nepal — Divisions 
of Eastern Nepal — Geology of adjoining part of Tibet — Flight and 
capture of King of Sikhim — Chinese intrigues in Sikhim and Tibet — 
Western side of Kang-La — Northern cliff of Everest — Nepalese guards — 
Game — Bivouac in cave — Return 394 



Crussinc. a torrent by a Rickety Cane-bridge (Frontispiece) ii 

Peak D 2 (Siniolchu) (Title page) iii 

Initial letter showing relative sizes of Everest, 

Mt. Blanc, etc i 

The Himalayas of Sikhim rising above the Clouds. . . 3 

Entering the Mountain Train 5 

Fishing in the Terai 7 

Outer Himalayas in North West Provinces n 

Hill Pedestrians 14 

Steaming up through an Avenue in the Sal Forest . 15 

Girl carrving Child 17 

A Clearing in the Forest 19 

Nepalese Villagers 21 

Tibetan twirling a "Praying Wheel" 25 

"Baksheesh"! 26 

Snows from Senchal 30 

Key to Snowy Ranges seen from Senchal 31 

Everest from Senchal 3$ 

Curio-Sellers 42 

A Tibetan 43 

A Lepcha 44 

Nepalese Woman of Moormi or Tamang-Bhotiya Tribe . 45 

Bhotiya Women selling Eggs 46 

Sikhimese Matron 47 

Nepalese Children 49 

Packing up the Baggage 55 

The Start 60 

Achoom, our chief Lepcha Servant 62 

Our "Caravan of Coolies" 64 

Kintoop, the Tibetan Explorer "K. P." and head of our 

Coolies 65 

\i\ LIST 'i I' I 1 l. U s T K A T IONS 


Buddhist Temple at Dortsook 6S 

Nepalese Swing at a Fair 71 

A Monk sipping Murwa Beer 75 

R wg-eet River 80 

"Their parasols grow by the wayside" 86 

A Lepcha 92 

Lepcha Houses 96 

A Lepcha Woman 99 

Sikhimese Chief and Retinue 102 

The Morning's Bag at Gamotang 112 

Crossing Torrents 118 

A Limboo Beauty 120 

Dik-chu Cane-bridge 131 

Temple Band at Phodang Monastery 137 

The King and Queen of Sikhim 145 

Crossing Cliffs on Bamboo Ladders 160 

Log Bridge on Cantilever Principle 166 

Yaks 169 

The polite Tibetan Salutation 172 

Cascades of the Lete 177 

Himalayan Larch 181 

Downward View from the Cleft 184 

Giant wild Rhubarb 185 

View into Tibet from Tang-kar Pass 189 

Trying to boil an Altitude Thermometer 191 

Grave and Cairn of our Fellow-Traveller 195 

An Avalanche of Rocks 199 

Yoomtang and its Yaks 205 

Captain of the Tibetan Frontier Guard on his Yak . . 207 

Kanchen-jow and Entrance to Seboo Pass 215 

The God of Mt. Kanchen-junga 217 

Peak D- (Siniolchu) 234 

North Ridge of Kanchen-junga, showing Gap .... 235 

Nangna Pass 237 

Bhotanese Chief and Retinue 246 

The Marriage of the Rang-eet and Teesta Rivers . . 251 

A Locust (A. Succintum) 254 

Orchid and Moss-covered Oak Forest 257 



Tibetan Fortifications at Yatoong 267 

Tibetan Soldiers 269 

Chinese Envoy from Lhasa, and Suite 272 

Koch or "Cooch" Tribe 291 

A Goorkha 302 

The Ruler of Nepal 305 

Kiranti or Jimdar Tribe 306 

Mangar Nepalese 309 

A hill Musician 314 

Through a Glade of feathery Bamboos 318 

Rhododendron Trees 319 

Sea of Clouds rising from the Plains 321 

Poisoned Arrows 326 

Snows from Sandook-phu 327 

Everest Group rising above the Clouds 331 

Nepalese frozen to Death in the Snow 335 

Key to the Everest Group 342 

Everest from Sandook-phu 343 

Everest and Peak XIII from the South 353 

Everest and Peak XIII from Bangura Trig. Station . . 355 

Nepalese Himalayas from Someshwar Range 357 

My Taxidermists at work 362 

Peak XIII from Migo 370 

Shar-pa Bhotyas 373 

Pandim from Tong-shyong-tam 376 

Glacier at Guicha Pass 378 

Kanchen-junga, South-East Face from Tong-shyong . . 381 

Eastern Glacier of Kanchen-junga from Tong-shyong . 383 

Worship of the God of Kanchen-junga 387 

Kanchen-junga from the West 395 

Crossing Oma Pass on a Yak 397 

"The Enchanted Lake of The Peacock's Tail" .... 403 

Anglo-Tibetan Boundary Commissioners 4 11 

The Lay-Governor of Lhasa, and Suite 414 

Profile of Kabru etc., from Semo Pass 416 

Kang-La from the West 417 

North-East Face of Everest 420 

Bivouac in a Cave 427 

xvi MAPS 



Map of Ranges and Peaks seen from Senchal .... 32 

Map of the Environs of Everest and Eastern Nepal 349 

Sketch Map of Pang a Pass on Flank of Everest . . . 437 

Himalayas of Sikhim and Adjoining Countries showing 

Author's Routes 453 

APPENDIX.— Notes to the Text . . 431 

INDEX 439 



" In a hundred ages of the Gods I could not tell you of all the 
glories of the Himalaya." — Old Sanskrit Poem. 

HE long cherished dream 
of years is about to be 
realized ! To-morrow we plunge 
into the wilds of the mightiest 
alps in the world to explore 
their little-known regions, 
to camp among their 
breezy heights and thun- 
dering torrents, and to 
live among their semi- 
savage Tartar tribes. 

We are starting from 
Darjeeling, on the thres- 
hold of the mountains, and 
famous for its view of those 
distant peaks with which we 
are now going to make closer acquaintance. Let us then 
invite the reader to accompany us to Darjeeling to look 


at our preparations for the journey, to see some of the 
strange people who are to be our companions, and enjoy 
the magnificent scenery by the way. 

The journey from India to Darjeeling can now-a-days 
be done comfortably within twenty-four hours from Calcutta, 
thanks to the railway. Vividly do I remember my first 
journey to that mountain health-resort. 

How refreshing it was to escape from the vegetative 
artificial existence and steamy heat of Calcutta, and after 
speeding along on the leaden wings of the Northern Bengal 
express, to emerge one April morning from the train at 
the comparatively cool station of Siligoori. 4 We now could 
see looming high above the quivering haze that smothered 
the dusty plains, the soaring peaks of the cool "hills," as 
Anglo-Indians are wont to call these loftiest summits of the 
earth. In the distance they looked as if they belonged to 
another world. Their lower ranges were hid in the grey 
haze and rosy morning mist, above which towered the 
purple spurs of the higher ranges, rising above the clouds 
in long lines, tier over tier, up to the snows, which were 
topped by the dazzling white peaks of the mighty Kanchen- 

" Whose head in wintry grandeur towers, 
And whitens with eternal sleet; 
While summer in a vale of flowers 
Is sleeping rosy at his feet." 

When we had fortified ourselves against the anticipated 
cold of our sudden ascent into these high regions, by putting 


on warmer clothing and snatching a hasty breakfast, we 
entered the little toy-like train that was to carry us up 
the mountains, and ensconced in arm-chairs in one of the 
open cars, we were soon rattling gaily across that dreaded 
belt of fever-laden forest — the Terai, which separates the 
plains from the foot of the hills. 
Passing the Tibet-Pekin trade-road 
on our right, and crossing "The 
Bent-going River" 




corrupted by the Bengalees into "Mahanadi "), we steamed 
through some deserted tea-plantations in clearings in this 
deadly forest. For in this poisonous atmosphere no la- 
bourers can be induced to settle. Each fresh batch of 
imported coolies soon flees panic-struck before the " Black- 
Death" (Kala-azar), "Black-water Fever" and other malarial 
pestilences which lurk in every brake and lay their avenging 


hands on every intruder who invades their reeking solitude. 
And they claim their victims also from the highest. Here 
it was that a former English vice-queen of India caught 
fatal fever when halting to sketch by the wayside in return- 
ing from a visit to Darjeeling. Amidst this desolate tangle 
of grass-grown tea-bushes are to be seen a few ruined huts 
of the planters, perched on tall posts to lift them some- 
what above the rank exhalations, telling a sad tale of 
British capital and enterprise sunk in an almost hopeless 

Nor is it only man who suffers here. The tea-plant 
itself is attacked by more than the ordinary number of 
blights and diseases, from which the plantations over- 
looking us a few thousand feet up the mountain-side are 
comparatively free. 

Still it is possible to get acclimatized even to such an 
unhealthy place as this. The few wild aborigines, the 
Mech and Dhimal, who live in the depths of these forests, 
and who will undertake no hired service, have acquired 
almost as much immunity from the deadly fevers of these 
forests as the tigers and other wild beasts who make this 
their home. And as we steam along past clumps of up- 
standing Sal trees, which look like pines in the distance, 
you may see in the clearings on the banks of the streams 
that deeply score the plain, some of the black aborigines s 
fishing in the shallows with long push-nets of Chinese 

Further on we passed through a bit of real "jungle" 


or primeval forest, with a wild luxuriance of vegetation as 
rank as any in the heart of Brazil. Its tangled thickets 
of sensitive Mimosa and dark greenery between the tall 
tufts of giant grass twenty feet in height, are still the 
haunt of the tiger and of the herds of deer and boars on 
which he preys, also of wild elephants, rhinoceros, buffalo 
and other big game. And here, under the figs and the 
stalwart cotton-trees with their fiery crimson blossoms, 
clusters of fern and clumps of moss carry the cool influence 
of the snowy mountains far out into the dust beclouded 

The ascent begins quite suddenly. The Himalayas here 
shoot up abruptly from the Indian plains like giant cliffs 
from the sea-shore, so that here, at their base, notwith- 
standing we were about 300 miles inland from Calcutta, 
we are yet scarcely more than 300 feet above the sea-level, 
though in the next thirty-five miles or so of railway we 
rise over 7,000 feet, and pass within a few hours up through 
all the gradations of climate, ranging from tropical to 
temperate and sub-Alpine. We can see here, from this deep 
base, at one glance, the striking differences in the foliage 
that sharply demarcate the different climatic zones as detailed 
by Hooker, and which give such magnificent and varied 
scenic effects as are to be seen in no other part of the 
world. Not even in this very same range further to the 
north, can the like contrast be seen. For in the north-western 
and Panjab Himalayas the mountains do not rise so suddenly. 
The outlying sandstone range of the Siwaliks, famous for 


their mammoth fossils, intervenes ; and owing to the much 
less rainfall there and the greater heat and drought of 
spring, and greater cold of winter, the vegetation is not 
only very much less luxuriant and varied than here, but 
many of the lower slopes there are almost burned up and 
bare of trees. 

This part of the Himalayas that we are now entering is 
called " Sikhim ", which seems to mean " The Land of Moun- 
tain Crests". '"' It may be viewed as a stupendous stairway 
hewn out of the western border of the Tibetan plateau by 
glaciers and great rivers and leading down to the Indian 
plains, with a fall of about 17,000 feet in a hundred miles. 
The face of this vast incline is roughly cut up into count- 
less peaks and ridges of stupendous height, and valleys of 
corresponding depth, adown which dash the glacial streams 
and thundering torrents of water precipitated by the exces- 
sive rainfall of this rainiest section of the Himalayas, for it 
faces the Bay of Bengal and receives the full force of the 
heavy summer rains or "monsoon". And the deep gorges 
of the rivers so interpenetrate the mountains as to carry 
a hot climate far along their banks, till the semi-tropic 
vegetation becomes almost overhung by snowy peaks, thus 
giving endless variety of climate and scenery, from the 
torrid heat of the tropics up to the bleak arctic cold of 
Tibet and its everlasting snows. Zoologically, Sikhim is 
situated on the borderland between the Palaearctic and 
Oriental regions, and at the junction of the Chinese, Ma- 
layan and Indian sections of the latter region. Thus its 

(Kumaon, about 6,000 feet.) 


animal life is representative of all these. The Palaearctic 
animals of Tibet enter from the north and the others 
from the east and south — the oriental animals ascend 
no higher than about 8,000 to 10,000 feet; and a few 
Ethiopian animals also have wandered from Africa thus far 

It is peculiarly isolated from the Himalayas on either 
side, shut in as it is, by two great wall-like ridges that 
run out into the plains, the so-called "Singalela" and Chola 

We now ascend a low gravelly spur of the former or 
western ridge, at Sookna, or "The Dry Site," proceeding at 
the exhilarating rate of nine or ten miles an hour; for this 
miniature railway, quite a curiosity of engineering, runs with 
its two-feet gauge, for the most part along the carriage- 
road that winds by long zig-zags up the mountain. The 
powerful little engine, weighing only from ten to fifteen 
tons, drags the train of ten to fifteen laden carriages 
up the gradient of about 1 in 28 at that rapid rate; 
but as the cars are mostly open trollies and there is no 
plunging into tunnels, this journey is made more like 
a drive in an open carriage, and you see the scenery to 

As we advance up this gravelly spur, which is clothed 
with a forest of stately Sal trees, our narrow path seems 
like an avenue festooned with ferns, pepper-vines and ropes 
of many-hued climbers, through whose thick foliage the 
sunbeams filter in broken flecks of dancing light. One of 


the ferns that encircle these tall trunks, crowns them with 
massive coronets of stiff feathery fronds that stand up like 
the head-dress of a red Indian chief, and many of the 
trees have six to ten of these coronets, one over the other. 
Emerging from this forest at a red clayey ridge about 
one thousand feet above the sea, we rose through the haze, 
and then the hills passed from grey indefiniteness into 
bright masses of form and colour. The twisting train 
curved in and out of shaggy ravines, carrying us through 
a swift succession of ever-changing scenery. We catch 
glimpses now of the blue hills and curling clouds above 
us, and now of the rich green masses of the woods and 
gorges through which we were passing, or again of the fast 
dwindling dusty plains below, which stretched out to the 
far off horizon like a great dark restful sea. And we get 


picturesque peeps at groups of the bright-eyed little Mon- 




goloid people of these hills, sturdily trudging along the 
winding forest path, some of the women carrying their 


children in a basket slung over their back, and the men 
with their loads in baskets similarly strapped over their 
foreheads ; and all occasionally waking the echoes with 


snatches of some high-pitched Tartar melody. The refrain 
of one of these songs runs : 

Travelling with a pretty maid 

The road seems very short and charming, 

And so seems life with a lovely wife. 

The landscape has hitherto presented the appearance of 
the truly tropical evergreen forest with its rank growth 
of gingers, calladium and other broad-leaved herbs and 
shrubs, its wild confusion of fallen trunks and decompos- 
ing leaves, matted with thorny twiners and bamboo 
thicket, through which the tall trees struggle in the 
choking embrace of giant creepers ; while others shoot 
aloft like tall masts, tied down by countless climbers 
which creep along the ground, cling to every trunk and 
fling themselves from tree to tree, making the jungle quite 

Now, however, the forest began rapidly to change its 
character. The undergrowth, which was almost a forest in 
itself, thinned perceptibly, and the landscape got more 
smiling. Birds and gaudy butterflies and other insect-life 
became more numerous amongst the many-hued wild weeds, 
including velvety Begonias, tall Cannas, and others which 
are prized hot-house plants at home. A startled deer or 
monkey might be seen where the wild plantains waved 
their broad shiny plumes against the warm slopes and the 
Sikhim screw-pine bore itself aloft like a giant mop. A few 
lar<{e-leaved oaks and chestnuts also showed themselves as 



stragglers from the temperate zone above. The greatest 
straggler of all, however, was a lowly little weed, like a 
blue-flowered groundsel (Ageratum conyzoides). It had 
travelled all the way from Mexico, and seems only recently 
to have been introduced here, probably as accidental tares 


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amongst the American Indian corn which is extensively grown 
higher up. But it is rapidly overrunning the hill sides, 
springing up everywhere and fast displacing the native 
weeds on all the fresh landslips and clearings; even the 
hardy worm-wood is disappearing before it. 

Steep paths struck down the hill side to clearings in the 
forest; and here and there in these clearings amidst the 


fragrant white blossoms of the orange trees and the pink 
of the peaches, and the bright yellow patches of mustard 
beside the fresh green of the maize, we passed several huts 
of the hardy highlanders. Wretched hovels they are, meaner 
even than the poorest Irish shanties, but the cheery inmates 
with flowers in their hair and the bright splashes of colour 
in the dress of the women and children make a pleasing 
picture in spite of the squalor of their dwellings. 

Our thirsty little engine, toiling up the mountain, stopped 
frequently in the ravines for water, and thus enabled us to 
get out, as from a coach when changing horses, for some 
minutes now and then, to pick a few wild flowers, or 
" gold " and " silver" ferns, where cascades tumble down cliffs 
of gneiss with mica-schist glistening in the sun. And we 
got time to glance at our fellow-passengers. 

The fresh faces and robust figures of the planters who 
have joined us by the way attest the healthiness of their 
exile in these hills, and contrast strikingly with the pale 
pinched faces of the tired workers whose lot is cast in the 
plains, and who are now hurrying to the cool hills to restore 
their lost strength. There are a few soldiers proceeding to 
their batteries or detachments in the mountains, British and 
Indian ; the latter including some Afghans or Pathans and 
Sikhs (pronounced somewhat like "Seeks"), but whom the 
British soldier (Tommy Atkins) perversely calls "Pythons" 
and " Sykes 1 " Then there are several of the perky hill 
peasantry, the women loaded with jewelry and the men 
carrying ugly knives stuck in their girdles. There are a 


few boisterous young Bengalees venturing to visit these 
mountains under the pax Britannica. They are clad un- 
romantically in European ulsters and patent-leather shoes, 
and their warlike eyes flash under their aniline-dyed turbans 
as they clutch a Birmingham umbrella in their " National " 
grasp. And there are a few belated stragglers from the 
flock of cold-weather tourists, or "globe-trotters" as they 


are irreverently called, on their way to Darjeeling to try 
to get a peep at Everest, the highest point in the world ; 
and they are now seeing these mountains to greater advantage 
than their fellows who flock here in the dry dusty winter 
months, when the lower atmosphere is laden with dust haze. 


The chance reference by one of them to a mutual friend at 
home makes us realize how small the world is after all. 

The geological formation of the rocks was also noticeable. 
About 2,000 feet up, we passed in the cuttings at Choona- 
buti (or " The Kime-kiln "), strata of lime-stone, russet veins 
of iron ore, and shaly outcrops of coal, dipping down at 
the most acute angles. But these seams of coal were so 
contorted by the enormous crushing force which threw up 
the Himalayas that they are not profitable for mining. 
Further on we passed through shiny layers of mica-schist 
up into stratified gneiss, which was often crumpled into 
wavy folds and ripple-like markings. Much of the soil of 
this part of the outer Himalayas, and that which is most 
preferred for tea-growing, is a stiff reddish clay of the kind 
called " laterite." 

Still higher up, on rounding the shoulder of a spur, we 
got a whiff of the deliciously fresh breeze from the cooler 
region above ; and we commanded bird's-eye views of the 
lower hills and plains, such as are got from balloons. Far 
below us we saw the circling kites and eagles; and the 
rivers from the ravines that we have crossed threaded their 
way like streaks of silver across the plains that stretched 
out as in a map. Our train then boldly skirted the top of 
precipitous valleys, alarmingly near the edge at times. To 
circumvent these precipices and the dangerous water-courses 
which threatened disaster, demands many an ingenious 
engineering device of spirals, reversing stations and deep 
masonry embankments. One of the most dangerous of these 


torrents is the Pagla Jhora, or "The Mad Stream," so called 
from its being subject in its freshets to fits of fury, during 
which it swells up suddenly into a raging torrent that tears 
madly down the hill side and hurls great rocks headlong 
down the valley. In such places the roadway has to be 
supported by deep buttresses built up from over a hundred 
feet below. 

The clearings get larger and more numerous. The less 
steep slopes are shorn of their forests for tea-cultivation, 
which with its trim cabbage-like rows of tea bushes does 
not enhance the beauty of the landscape. The white villas 
of the hospitable planters dot the mountain sides, and vil- 
lages become more frequent. At one of the largest and 
busiest of these marts, Kurseong, about 5,000 feet above 
the sea-level, where we stopped for a few minutes, we 
notice some Tibetans, conspicuous amongst the many divers 
races which thronged the street. They are lounging about, 
or acting as porters : big, grimy, deep-chested men and 
women, with unkempt pigtails, and clad uncouthly in greasy 
sheep-skins or blankets, and decked with massive turquoise 

Now we are in a fresh temperate climate. The vege- 
tation has completely changed, and we recognise the 
bramble and raspberry — of which there are fourteen kinds 
here, the strawberry, maple, chestnut, cherry, willow, sorrel, 
stag-moss, and many other common trees, shrubs and weeds 
of temperate Europe. The undergrowth has got more open 
and grassy; and almost the only feature of the landscape 


which suggests the tropics is the feathery frond of the tall 
tree-ferns, which lift their graceful heads like stately palms. 

Further up, towards Sonada, or " The Bears' Den ", sug- 
gestive of the bruins which frequent this neighbourhood, 
we passed above the clouds, which were seen hugging the 
mountain side far beneath us. And the prevailing dampness 
showed itself in the moist dripping forest and frequent moss- 
covered grottoes. In this chilly shade, the colours grow 
more sombre, the foliage loses its warm olive tints and gets 
a greenish blue. Magnificent parasitic orchids cling to the 
moist moss which thickly clothes the dripping bark of the 
tall oaks, ilex and magnolias, and long tufts of stringy 
lichens hang from the branches in fantastic shapes, and 
stream in the wind like hoary beards. 

In this rapid ascent of over 6,000 feet in a few hours 
I had been watching the quick revolution of the index of 
my aneroid. Now I experienced one of the effects of this 
rapid ascent by a slight explosion in the ear, followed by 
the instant relief of a feeling of tension in the temples. 
This is one of the ways in which Nature adjusts our phy- 
siology to the diminished pressure of the atmosphere at 
such elevations. The air in the inner chamber of the ear 
behind the "drum" expands with the diminished atmospheric 
pressure, and so causes a feeling of tension, but the excess in 
this volume of air is ultimately expelled through that passage 
into the throat, called by anatomists the Eustachian tube, 
and then equilibrium is restored. 

Still ascending, ere we gain the elevation of 7,470 feet 



at Ghoom, on the bare bleak ridge of Jala-pahar, or "The 
Burned Hill", which a forest fire has shorn of its timber, 
the chill air has compelled us to don our thickest ulsters and 
wraps. It is indeed delicious to feel really cold again 1 This 
village of Ghoom is the first large outpost of the Tibetans, 


or "Bhootiyas" as they are here called. Here we see them 
shod in snow-shoes, busily plying their prayer-wheels and 
counting their beads and mumbling their mystic legend — 
"Om manee pad-me Hoong", " Hail to the Jewel in the Lotus- 
flower" — the mere utterance of which sentence gains them 
sure entrance into heaven. Their huts, most of which are 



built of empty Kerosine-oil boxes and tins, are gay with many- 
coloured bunting, streaming from poles topped by yaks' tails 
and bearing various symbolic devices to ward off devils. And 
from tall bamboos inscribed prayer-flags flutter in the breeze, 
wafting their petitions to the countless demons who infest 

the air and springs and hillsides in the neighbourhood. 
Among the many beggars here who clamour for baksheesh, 
is one very ancient wrinkled dame commonly called "the 


old witch of Ghoom". She is dirtier even than most of 
her fellows, and her coat, worn into tatters and a greasy 
polish, seems more ancient than herself. Few Tibetans are 
conspicuous for personal cleanliness, most of them wear 
constantly the same suit day and night for months without 
changing, and often till it is a thing of shreds and patches. 
Needless to say a Tibetan garment is always a zoological 
preserve ; and both here and along the road it is no un- 
common sight to see, as in India, both men and women 
seated on the ground reciprocating kind and necessary 
attentions to each other's hair. 

Leaving Ghoom we glide down the grassy northern slopes 
of this ridge, which now shuts out the view of the Indian 
plains, and after about four miles of curving road, each 
bend of which reveals enchanting views, we sweep round 
a corner, and with a cheery whistle our plucky little engine 
runs home and lands us in the station of Darjeeling. 

When we have rescued our luggage from the group of 
eager porters, men, women and children, who vigorously 
fight over it, we are free to look about us and see that 
Darjeeling stands, not in a valley like ordinary Alpine 
towns, but perched high on the summit and shoulders of 
a spur which runs out into a great gulf of valleys of stu- 
pendous depth, beyond which rises a vast amphitheatre of dark 
shaggy mountains, rising range over range up to the snows. 
The snowy peaks which were visible in the morning are 
not now to be seen, so late in the afternoon. They are 
hidden by a great bank of cloud, below which, however, 


the snow showed itself in silvery streaks, fingering away 
down the higher gorges in delicate traceries. 

But the first thing that strikes the traveller, on his arrival 
from the plains, is the surprising and complete change in 
climate, and in the country and its inhabitants. And how 
sudden it all has been! We have shot up directly from 
the burning plains of India into a European climate in about 
four hours; and into a country which is not physically a 
part of India at all, but a Tartar land, judging from the 
oblique Mongoloid eyes of the people, their pig-tails, Chi- 
nese hats and dress, and strange non-Indian speech, and 
the freedom of the women whose bright and happy 
faces, hidden by no jealous veil, recall in many ways the 
Japanese, though lacking the culture and refinement of the 
latter. It is refreshing too to see the manly independent 
bearing of these boisterous good-humoured mountaineers 
after the mercenary obsequiousness of the fawning plains- 
people. Indians also are here, as servants and followers 
of their European masters, but their lanky legs and flabby 
shivering figures are strangely out of keeping with their 

It is also pleasant to be once more in the midst of a 
real spring, to breath its freshness, and feast the eye, 
fatigued by the monotonous evergreen of the Indian plains, 
on its budding blossoms. For the gradations of seasons 
that mark the opening and course of the natural year in 
temperate Europe are almost entirely absent in India ; and 
this contrast increases the delight of the traveller to Dar- 


jeeling, when he meets again the glad season which "hangs 
her infant-blossoms on the trees", and hears the cuckoo's 
plaintive note that recalls sweet memories of home. 

Such were my impressions whilst following my sturdy 
Tibetan porters up a steep path to one of the villa-like 
houses perched on the hillside, where I found awaiting me 
a cozy room with its blazing fire, a comfort to which I 
had long been stranger. 

To see the famous sunrise on the snows, I was up next 
morning long before daybreak, and rode up to Senchal, a 
peak about 1,500 feet, higher than Darjeeling, and com- 
manding a finer view, weather permitting. And I was soon 
rewarded with a sight of the grandest snowy landscape in the 
world. Far away in the yet dusky sky, and at an amazing 
height, a rosy peak flashed forth for an instant and vanished 
into the darkness. This was the summit of Kanchen-junga. 
It reappeared almost immediately, and brighter than before, 
in the rising glow of dawn, which, reflected from peak to 
peak, streamed down the lower pinnacles, bathing them in 
a soft rosy light that faded quickly away into cold bluish 
grey, and left the snowy ranges a sea of dull sapphire 
peaks. Then, as the sun shot up with its first long low 
beams glinting on the highest and then in quick succession 
on the lower peaks, these dim blue crests and crags leaped 
forward tipped with ruddy gold and splashed with fire, which, 
as the sun rose higher and higher, melted away in the dis- 
tance into amber and frosted silver against a turquoise 
sky. In the full flood of sunlight these snows lost most of 



their broad details of light and shade, and presented an 
almost uniform chalky whiteness through the pearly haze. 


Not a cloud obscured the view. Snowy mountains stretched 
round almost half the horizon, culminating in the mighty 













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X UJ ^ 

►-• M ro Tf in vO 


mass of Kanchen-junga (or " Kinchinjinga ") with its 13,000 
feet of everlasting snow, and Everest in the background. From 
this latter peak, rising on our left over the dark shoulder of 
Sandook-phu, the crowded range of snowy pyramids extends 
almost continuously eastwards to Jannoo and Kabroo (25,000 
and 24,015 ft. respectively) on the flanks of Kanchen-junga 
(28,150 ft.), and thence far away to the silvery cone of the 

Mount Everest j% U8U 

29002 ft 


Tibetan Choomo-lha-ri (23,940 ft), and sinks in the eastern 
snows of Rhotan, on the extreme right. It was sublime 1 — 

"Northwards soared 
The stainless ramps of huge Himala's wall 
Ranged in white ranks against the blue — untrod, 
Infinite, wonderful— whose uplands vast, 
And lifted universe of crest and crag, 
Shoulder and shelf, green slope and icy horn, 
Riven ravine, and splintered precipice 
Led climbing thought higher and higher, until 
It seemed to stand in heaven and speak with God. 
Beneath the snows, dark forests spread, sharp laced 
With leaping cataracts and veiled with clouds : 
Lower grew rose-oaks and the great fir groves 
Where echoed pheasants' call and panthers' cry, 
Clatter of wild sheep on the stones and scream 
Of circling eagles: under these, the plain 
Gleamed like a praying-carpet at the foot 
Of these divinest altars." 7 


The vastness of this view, vast beyond that of any other 
spot of earth perhaps, is almost oppressive. In every direc- 
tion the eye as it sweeps the horizon traverses some hun- 
dreds of miles of the earth's surface ; and from the deep 
gulf of the silvery Rang-eet river, flowing 7,000 feet 
beneath our feet, great masses of dark forest-clad mountains 
rise, tier over tier, carrying the eye up to the majestic 
snows with the graceful Kanchen-junga towering up 27,000 
feet above the river in the foreground. Thus, at one glance, 
we see an elevation of the earth's surface of considerably 
over five miles in vertical height. As if we were to imagine 
Mont Blanc rearing its full height abruptly from the sea- 
shore, bearing on its summit Ben Nevis, the highest 
mountain in Great Britain, and above all that, two Snow- 
dons, one on the top of the other, and were able with one 
glance to take in all these four superposed mountains. 

The surpassing height of these Himalayas may be real- 
ized by comparison with the peaks of the Alps of Europe. 
None of the latter peaks exceed 15,784 feet, and only six 
or seven are above 14,000 feet. While the Himalayas have 
several peaks over 28,000 feet, and more than 1,100 which 
have been measured exceed 20,000 feet. 

So enormous, indeed, is this great projecting mass of 
the Himalayas that physicists have shown, not only that 
it draws the plumb-line considerably towards it, but that 
it so attracts the sea as to pull the latter several hundred 
feet up its sides. 8 Yet this fact is so little generally 
known that most sea-captains would stare were you to tell 


them that in coming from Ceylon to Calcutta they had 
been actually sailing up-hill 1 Nothing perhaps gives a better 
idea of the enormous size of the Himalayas than this, that 
they pull the very sea so far up their sides. 

In this unique view of snowy mountain scenery from 
Senchal, it takes time and reflec'ion to adequately conceive 
the dimensions of the panorama extended before one. The 
height from which they are viewed together with the 
peculiar atmospheric conditions modifying the perspective, 
tend to dwarf their actual extent, both in horizontal and 
vertical directions. It is difficult for instance, to realise that 
the summit of Kanchen-junga is nearly forty miles distant 
as the crow flies, from the Rang-eet river in our foreground. 
But the longer we look the more the true proportions of 
the scene grow upon us, till we begin to gain some sense 
of its stupendousness, and then it holds us spell-bound. 

Such a view, and to get it you must be favoured with 
a clear day, spoils you in a measure for vastness in scenery 
ever after. Its only defect is the want of variety and 
boldness in the great swelling mountains in the foreground 
and middle distance, owing to the relative absence of cliffs 
in the outer ranges. For very bold and rugged scenery 
we require to go further in amongst the mountains, nearer 
to the snows. 

I was much amused at my Indian servant's estimate of 
this grand scenery. It was his first visit to the mountains, 
and I had taken him with me to carry my field-glasses and 
camera. While I was sitting on the summit, enjoying the 


view, feasting my eyes on the elegant outline of the higher 
ranges, of which the detailed formation can be distinctly 
made out through a telescope, and drinking in the delicious 
mountain air, and watching the clouds creeping up the 
mountain side, and the swift kaleidoscopic change in colours 
and light and shade from the clouds which were drifting 
lightly over head, I asked him what he thought of it all. 
He replied with much feeling and tears in his eyes as he 
gazed again at the view: "It is a horrid country 1 It is so 
covered with forest and so steep and stony that few or no 
crops can grow, rice cannot grow at all, and every eatable, 
even milk, is so dear that it can scarcely be bought. And 
the people look like devils and will certainly kill us when- 
ever they get a chance. I beseech your honour to take 
me back to India soon!" His ideal of a lovely country, 
poor fellow, was a fever-breeding rice-swamp in Bengal. On 
the other hand, the sprightly highland lad who had come 
to look after my pony, took unfeigned pleasure in pointing 
out to me some of the natural beauties of his country. And 
the natives of the hills often show great taste in planting 
their temples and headmen's houses in the most picturesque 
positions possible. 

Turning from the natural beauties of form and colour 
in this vast landscape, to the rocky materials out of which 
this landscape has been evolved, we find in these mountains 
an object-lesson in land-sculpture. Spread out before us, as 
in a map, we see how the valleys have been carved out 
of "the everlasting hills" by the eroding forces of rain and 


wind, ice and frost, and how the resulting configuration of 
the peaks is determined by the particular kind of rock of 
which the mountains are composed. Thus the straight 
angular outlines and crystalline form of the highest snowy 
peaks are due to the intensely hard crystalline rocks, quartz 
and granite and massive gneiss which form the axis of the 
Himalayas, and which have resisted so well the disinte- 
grating forces. The irregularly jagged and bold contour of 
the lower peaks is owing to the unequal hardness of their 
constituent gneiss and granite rocks, which have weathered 
unequally. And the rounded broadly sweeping outlines of 
the lower hills are due to the thick coating of silt and 
debris and the relative absence there of denuded rocks, 
and the crumbling character of the soft shales and schists. 
The whole surface, too, of these outer mountains of our 
foreground and middle distance, so deeply carved and fur- 
rowed by the water-channels, exhibits, in the most impres- 
sive way possible, the powerful influence of denudation in 
the formation of the valleys. 

Here, too, we see how the running water of the countless 
upland rills scoop out from their parent hills their threadlike 
tracks, and gathering strength and volume by the accession 
of numerous tributaries issuing from dark ravines, grow into 
impetuous torrents that cut deeper and deeper down into 
the mountain sides, and at length collect into a great river 
which strews the plains with the ruins of the hills. Thus 
we see the drainage-lines take the form of a mighty 
many-branched tree. This tree-like ramification of the 


water-channels, as seen from here, has impressed itself on 
the aboriginal name for the spur of Darjeeling, in our 
foreground. The Lepcha name for this spur is " The Fallen- 
Tree Hill " [Kung-gol-l '<?). The tortuous spurs, running down 
from the steep foreshortened ridge of Jalapahar, represent 
the torn- up roots of the prostrate tree; the trunk is the 
ridge extending to Darjeeling; and the two main branches 
are the spurs of Birch Hill and Lebong, from which extend 
the innumerable ramifications of smaller spurs that form 
the branchlets. 

And turning from the natural aspects of the landscape 
to the artificial, we find how Man himself has helped to 
transform this scenery, and how sudden has been this 
change ! It is not easy to believe that all these cultivated 
clearings on the hill sides in the outer ranges, with their 
thriving settlements, busy marts and villages through which 
we have passed, their hundreds of square miles of tea- 
gardens, the white villas with their comfortable-looking 
curling smoke, the net-work of roads all over the mountains, 
and the din and stir of life, have all sprung up within the 
past sixty years. 

Yet so it is. In 1835 when the Darjeeling hills were 
ceded by the Sikhimese King to the English, as a sanita- 
rium for our troops, the whole stretch of these mountains 
was covered by dense virgin forest, and the scattered popu- 
lation, all told, numbered not more than about 200 souls ; 
while now this settlement contains a population of over a quar- 
ter of a million, of whom some thousands are Europeans, and 


the tea-gardening industry alone represents over five millions 
sterling of invested British capital, which is steadily increasing. 
Such rapid progress in material development and commer- 
cial prosperity would be hard to beat even in the mushroom 
growth of American towns. The rapid advance of the new 
settlement by leaps and bounds was owing to the exertions 
of Dr. A. Campbell of the Indian Medical Service. He had 
been our political Resident at the Court of Nepal, and when 
he was appointed Superintendent of Darjeeling he attracted 
hither the Nepalese to settle in their thousands, and he 
also introduced the tea-plant, the cultivation of which has 
now become so enormous an industry. 

But our reveries are cut short by the rising clouds, which 
gather over us into a drenching mist that drives us down 
the hill. Our way passes near the moss-grown chimneys 
of the ruined barracks on the ridge, built long ago as a 
sanitarium for our European troops ; but as the mists and 
rains injured the health and spirits of the men, causing 
several to commit suicide, the buildings had to be abandoned. 
Now it is curious in this regard to find that the native 
name of this exposed peak (Senchal), which receives the 
full force of the rainy monsoon from the Bay of Bengal, 
and which is cloud-capped most of the year, means "The 
Damp Misty Hill"; so that it is possible had the Govern- 
ment known the etymology of the word they would have 
been spared much needless expense, as well as the loss of 
several lives of our soldiers. 

On the way down to Darjeeling we saw some natives, 


as well as British soldiers, armed with butterfly-nets, wildly 
chasing the gorgeous insects that abound here. One local 
species that is confined to this particular mountain, is so 
rare that one specimen of it fetches about a pound sterling. 
The pursuit, however, of these winged gems, though exciting, 
is not always very successful; for often, like Mark Twain's 
flea, "when you have got it, it is not there." We passed a 
picnic party, the ladies of which were dressed in silks, for 
Darjeeling is terribly respectable. They were travelling in 
"dandies", a common mode of conveyance here for those 
who do not ride. The dandy is a sort of reclining chair, 
fixed to a pole (which is called a dandi in India, and 
hence the name) ; and by this pole it is carried on the 
broad shoulders of three or four sturdy hillmen. Tibetan 
ponies are, however, the favourite "mount"; and very com- 
fortable and sure-footed they are, though slow. But they 
have the awkward habit of keeping to the extreme outside 
edge of the path, which is rather alarming when you are 
skirting a precipice and the path is not fenced. This practice 
is said to be acquired when they are young pack-ponies 
in Tibet, where the bulky loads which they carry force them 
to keep out from the inner rocky borders of the narrow 
mountain tracks. 

Back again at Darjeeling, as the ways of society in the 
Himalayas are as the ways of any fashionable European 
health-resort, it will be readily understood by those acquainted 
with the late hours and feverish energy by which the 
Western nations pursue health and pleasure, that active 


participation in the social life of Darjeeling was not com- 
patible with the objects which had brought me to the place. 

The town itself can scarcely be considered very pictur- 
esque, owing to the fewness of trees from the reckless 
destruction of the magnificent forest which once was its 
greatest glory. Of these moss-covered monarchs there 
remain now only a group of oaks, forming an oasis in the 
grounds of Beechwood, and a few stragglers dotting the 
hillside here and there, like solitary giants, accentuating the 
general bareness. At Beechwood are also a few fine pines 
and rhododendrons planted by Sir Joseph Hooker over 
forty years ago. The Cryptomerias which have been 
introduced from Japan, as the climate is too moist for the 
graceful deodars and other Himalayan pines, are so trim 
and solid-looking as to suggest the conventional trees in 
a child's box of toys. Conspicuous, too, in the long lines 
of the bazaar, are the inevitable corrugated iron roofs, 
announcing in more homely than picturesque fashion the 
invasion of yet another of nature's solitudes by modern 
enterprise and invention. 

Many of the walks are very pleasant and resemble 
English lanes, not only those which zig-zag up and down, 
but also the numerous paths which stretch like ribbons over 
the hillsides for those who love the level. On these, however, 
you seldom can go far without being pestered by pedlars 
to buy all sorts of things that you do not want ; yet these 
hawkers despite your protests will insist on spreading out 
their whole stocks before you, jewellery, plaids, daggers 



and swords, carvings, and the crudest of curios, including 
prayer-wheels, amulets, skull-drums and trumpets of human 
bones, and "genuine" antiquities from Tibet and China, most 
of which are of local manufacture, and made specially for 
sale to visitors. 

The bazaar or market, though not beautiful in its 


buildings, is on Sunday morning a scene of eager bustle 
and bright colour, a paletteful of tints. Its varied groups 
of humanity, too, are most interesting in themselves to those 
Europeans who are not hopelessly prejudiced against every- 
thing "native". For it is too much the fashion of the 
Anglo-Indians at Darjeeling to put all these hillfolk, from 
the mere fact of their being "natives", on the same 



low platform as the Indian plains-people. A little more 
discrimination might show them that the much despised 
"niggers" are not really "so black as they are painted". 
They are not Indian at all, but despite their want of 
civilization, some are found to show more manly and 
generous instincts than many of those who despise them. 


On Sunday morning, the villagers from the hillsides, for 
many miles around, troop here in their thousands to do 
their week's marketing, decked in all their finery. The 
women and children are especially picturesque, dressed in 
all the colours of the rainbow, and laden with massive gold 


and silver jewellery, and necklets of rupees ; they wear 
their fortunes on their necks. 

Here you may see representatives of most of the varied 
native population. First there are the timid, plaided Lepchas, 
the aborigines of these mountains. They live in the jungles 
and have brought some forest-produce, such as yams, 
cardamoms, orchids, wild honey, and gorgeous butterflies, to 


the market to barter for salt and other articles. They are 
now numerically very few as they are being swamped by 
swarms of the sprightly little chattering Nepalese, who have 
immigrated in enormous numbers to settle in the Darjeeling 
district, as peasantry or as the well-paid workers on the 
tea-gardens here. The bright-eyed Nepalese women, gaily 
parading their holiday attire, are neatly dressed in bright 


colours, many of them in English broad-cloths, and they 
complete their toilet with a gaudy handkerchief of European 
manufacture thrown gracefully over their heads, in Italian 
style. Some of the piquant faces of the youngest would 
be almost pretty were their owners not addicted to the 

Moormi or Tamang-Bhotiya tribe. 

unsightly practice of chewing betel-nut. Then there are 
many of the stalwart turbulent Bhotiyas, as all the Tibetan- 
speaking races are here called. These include the natives 
of Tibet proper, as well as the mixed race of Lepchas and 
Tibetans who form the Sikhimese Bhotiyas, the Bhotiyas 
from Bhotan on the east, forming the " Doog-pa " Bhotiyas, 



and the more numerous Khotiyas from Nepal on the west, 
the "S/ier-pa" Bhotiyas. Most picturesque of all are the 
mounted Tibetans, dashing along on sturdy ponies with 
jingling harness-bells, and their scarves red and blue, 
streaming in the wind. The Bhotiya women, especially those 
of Tibet, are great awkward figures, most of them, neither 


very clean nor comely, nor over-burdened with false mod- 
esty ; but all are beaming with good temper, and they wear 
massive amulets and charms like breastplates, of gold 
and silver filigree work set with turquoises ; and their 
prayer-wheels and rosaries are also be-jewelled. The richer 
women wear chaplets of large coral beads, costing as 



much as ten to twenty pounds a set, and many wear, 
hanging from their girdles, various silver ornaments and 
Chinese chopsticks. Lounging among these groups you see 
several sleek priests, the so-called Lamas, in cherry-coloured 
robes, and usually capped with sugar-loaf-shaped scarlet 
hats, like mitred abbots, counting their rosary in the left 


hand and twirling a praying-wheel in the right, and solemnly 
mumbling their spells ; but who are always ready to interrupt 
their devotions to take part in ordinary gossip or a sip of 
beer, with as little suspicion of impropriety as the Burmese 
Buddhists do theirs to take a puff at their huge cheroots. 
Above the general hum in one corner of the bazaar, rose 


the wail, in a minor key, of a poor old blind beggar 
woman calling piteously for alms : 




r r i r r 

Sa - laam Sahib bak-sheesh do - o ! 

But quite the noisiest of all are the strident Indians— ser- 
vants of the Europeans, and the followers and traders who 
have come in their wake, and among whom are many sly 
pink-turbaned usurers, the " Marwari Baniyas" and " Kani- 
yas," the Indian Shylocks who scheme to get the easy-going 
Lepchas and other simple hillmen into their clutches. 

The wares are exposed in open booths and stalls in the 
bazaar itself as well as along the paths and road-sides 
leading to it; and the sellers sit behind their great piles 
of grain, sweetmeats, betel, tobacco, starchy yams and other 
food-stuffs, that are spread on green leaves, with a variety 
of utensils, trinkets and nicknacks. These include matches 
of Japanese manufacture, Manchester silks, cotton and broad- 
cloths ; soap, tobacco, kerosine oil, and Huntley & Palmer's 
biscuits. But far more interesting than the wares are the 
figures of the sellers and buyers. The struggling, surging 
crowd amidst all the turmoil of the fair supplies endless 
subjects to the artist, if he does not mind the ancient and 
fish-like smells which here abound. The eager, expectant, 
or happy faces, and the complexions ranging from ruddy 
to olive and bronzy brown; the graceful drapery of the 
women and children, the long full flowing robes of the Lepcha 
and Bhotiya women, the short-kilted skirt and neat bodice 



of the Nepalese, with girdles of brilliant colour, and the 
delicate tints of many of the silk kerchiefs thrown coquet- 
tishly over the head, tints faded by the sun to tender 


tones of green, old gold, pale pink and rose, make quite 
a study of colour. 

Beyond the bazaar, in the picturesque little cemetery, is 


the tomb of Csoma, the Hungarian, a romantic adventurer 
who fell a martyr here to his self-imposed task of finding 
out the origin of his race. The Hungarians or Magyars 
are the descendants of the Tartar nomads from Central 
Asia, who burst over Europe about the ninth or tenth 
century A.D. Csoma, when but a poor penniless young 
student, set out on his errand with only his stick, and 
begged his way across Asia Minor to the borders of Tibet, 
suffering endless hardships. In Tibetan, he believed that 
he had found a language cognate with his own; and 
after many years of seclusion in a Tibetan monastery he 
published his great Tibetan Dictionary and Grammar. Af- 
terwards he tried to reach Lhasa, but died at Darjeeling, 
where the Asiatic Society of Bengal erected this tomb to his 

Soon after my arrival at Darjeeling I made the usual 
short excursions to see the sights of the neighbourhood — 
the cave of the mystic thunderbolt or "Dorfe" on Obser- 
vatory hill, from which cave Darjeeling, or properly " Dorje- 
ling", derives its name; down to Lebong, the Rang-eet 
valley and the Teesta-bridge, and up to the peaks of 
Tongloo and Sandook-phu ; all of which points are easily 
reached by good riding-roads, with staging-houses on the 
way, thus enabling these charming trips to be made with 
comparatively little trouble or expense. 

Travelling in Upper Sikhim, however, on which we are now 
starting, is a very big business indeed, and not to be carelessly 
undertaken, otherwise one's experiences are apt to be more 


varied than agreeable. The expedition has to be thought 
out and thoroughly organised beforehand. Not that there 
is much danger of being attacked by man, or, like Hooker, 
seized and imprisoned, if only one be armed against banditti, 
and be careful to keep outside the Tibetan frontier. Though, 
only a few weeks before we are starting, Darjeeling went 
panic-mad from a scaring report that the Tibetans with 
whom we had just had a little war, were swarming through 
Sikhim to attack the town ; and the military to reassure 
the residents posted pickets all round the station and 
paraded the troops daily through the streets. 

The reasons why travel in Sikhim demands costly and 
elaborate preparation, are because no food worth mention- 
ing is to be obtained locally ; because the roads are so few 
and bad, that everything must be carried on men's backs, 
and by porters taken through from British territory ; and 
because frequently there is no shelter, except what you 
bring with you, against the sudden and trying changes of 
climate, which have to be encountered in the dipping in 
and out of tropical valleys in the ascent towards the snows. 

For Sikhim so rich in scenery and in natural products 
is most inhospitable to the traveller. The few natives you 
chance to meet in the interior feed, clothe and house them- 
selves almost entirely on the products of the jungle. Very 
little grain is ever cultivated by them, and never enough 
for their own yearly wants, so they have none to spare to 
visitors. Even milk and butter are seldom procurable until 
you reach the upland pastures of the Tibetan yak-herdsmen, 


where sheep also may be obtained. And shooting for the 
pot can nowhere be much depended on. 

Not only must your own and your servants' food, cooking 
utensils, bedding, baggage and tents be brought with you, 
but the food and bedding of all your numerous porters as 
well. It is this last which is the most serious drag of all, 
for the badness of the tracks compels everything to be 
carried on men's backs — only for a few short distances can 
ponies and yaks be substituted, — and it thus requires almost a 
little army of porters or coolies to carry the mere food alone 
for your camp. This burden hampers you most heavily in your 
movements, for the coolies, though a splendid set of strong 
fellows and willing, eat up their rations as they go, and so 
make it difficult for you to penetrate to very distant points. 
To provide for this you have to send on in advance some 
bags of rice and Indian corn, so as to establish commissariat 
depots on the line of march. Then, you must not overload 
your coolies. Although many of these sturdy Bhotiyas can 
carry enormous loads of two or three hundredweight for 
considerable distances — and there is a story that a Bhotiya 
woman carried a cottage piano on her back for many miles 
up the mountain, — still no coolie can go at a decent pace, 
about fourteen miles a day, on a sustained tour in these 
mountains, with a heavier load than about sixty pounds 
inclusive of his bedding and wraps. And the more lightly 
your coolie is laden, that is to say, the greater number of 
coolies you have, the more quickly you get over the ground 
and with the less discomfort. So try as you will to reduce 


them you must inevitably take a large number in any case ; 
and you cannot always get the best stamp of coolie, the 
tractable Lepchas and Sikhimese Bhotiyas, in sufficient 
numbers to go to outlandish places. 

The enormous expense of all this porterage is indeed 
one of the chief drawbacks to travel in these mountains. 
Darjeeling is a notoriously expensive place even for a 
Himalayan sanitarium, but the most exorbitant item of all 
is porterage. Even the casual visitor finds this, in getting 
his baggage moved from and to the railway station. The 
recognised rate for each coolie is eight annas a day, or 
just double the rate in every other part of the Himalayas, 
and this notwithstanding that Darjeeling is the nearest of 
all to the chief source of food-stuffs in the plains, and in 
its railway it has quite as cheap or cheaper carriage than 
the long strings of toiling camels and bullock-carts which 
do this duty for the other Himalayan stations. Such ficti- 
tiously high rates may have been necessary in the earlier 
days to attract the Nepalese to settle in what was then an 
uninhabited country, so as to make it a recruiting ground for 
our Goorkha regiments. Now, however, as the population 
has become immense and settled, surely Government might 
do something to remove this anomaly; especially so, as 
the standard of comfort among the people here stands so 
very high, and is so much higher than in other parts of 
the Himalayas, that the women and children here are 
literally loaded with necklets of rupees, and many wear 
massive golden jewellery of barbaric size, and dress in 


expensive silks and broadcloths. Moreover, the persons 
who appear most of all to benefit by these easily earned 
gains, thus extracted mainly from the pockets of the Euro- 
peans, are the swarms of Indian usurers and shopkeepers 
and grain dealers from the plains, who keep up the prices, 
— the innumerable jewellers and the spirit-shop keepers. 

Another difficulty that the mountaineer experiences here 
is the want of proper guides. There are as yet no profes- 
sional guides in the Himalayas, as no natives of these regions 
are climbers themselves. The sportsman can always get 
the native hunters of the musk-deer or shepherds to pilot 
him along the beaten tracks, and they are especially useful 
in the zone of the almost impenetrable shrubby rhododen- 
dron, which is a much greater obstacle than the dwarf pine 
in the Eastern Alps ; but these men are of little or no use 
to the climber who is bound for the higher slopes of difficult 
peaks. He must trust mainly to himself and his compass, 
if he has not brought with him a trained Swiss guide, as 
did Mr. W. Graham, who is practically the only one who 
has done any real ice-climbing in these parts. 9 The climber 
will also find some useful hints as to details and expense 
in Major Michell's paper, 10 though the cost of the hill 
journey is much underestimated there. As I did not propose 
at first to do any ice-climbing, I was fortunate to secure 
as guide, a native of Upper Sikhim, who is a noted ex- 
plorer of Tibet, Kintoop by name, and whose acquaintance 
we shall presently make as the headman of our coolies. 
The season also must be considered. The late autumn 


and spring are the most pleasant for travelling in these 
mountains. In the summer months, May to September, 
heavy rain falls almost daily on the high peaks, veiling 
the scenery in cloud, and the unbridged torrents, landslips, 
leeches and many insect pests make travelling in the lower 
levels difficult and disagreeable. May is the month of 
avalanches. In the winter the passes and uplands are, of 
course, closed by snow, which, however, drives the game 
down into more accessible places. In the middle of Septem- 
ber, the atmosphere clears and gives magnificent views ; 
and many plants and flowers still carpet the uplands. 
Snow begins to fall about the middle of October, but this 
month as well as November has fine clear settled weather. 
In March and April, though most of the higher passes are 
closed, and the cold is too intense on the higher peaks, gor- 
geous rhododendron trees cover the hillsides, from 9,000 up 
to 13,000 feet, with their brilliant bloom. To explore the 
higher peaks and the glaciers,- therefore, you must endure 
the discomforts of the late summer rains and mists, and 
chance the weather. At that season, occasionally the clouds 
lift, giving glorious views ; and milk and butter, as well as 
yaks and sheep for meat, can be obtained up to about 
14,000 to 15,000 feet; and the yaks can carry your heavy 
baggage over the rocky tracks on the verge of snow for long 
distances, and do not require you to bring their food, as they 
are simply turned loose to find it for themselves. Settled 
fine weather usually begins about the middle of September. 
Restricted in these many ways, you must draw out a plan 


of your journey carefully before hand. Our present scheme 
is that we start in the beginning of October when the 
rainy season is nearly over (though a month earlier would 
have been preferable if we could have managed it), and 
follow the valley of the Teesta upwards to its chief head- 
water, the La-chen, and ascend that river northwards to 
the upper Zemoo Valley, which Hooker had been unable 
to penetrate ; and thence pass southwards over the eastern 
glaciers of Kanchen-junga or Kinchinjinga to the valley of 
rocky avalanches (T6-loong). This route will take us for 
a considerable distance over a line of country where no Euro- 
pean has yet set foot. And we have settled all the knotty 
points as to the instruments we are to take, the commis- 
sariat question as to the kind and quantities of stores and their 
transport, the best form of tent, collecting apparatus, maps, 
books including Hooker's Journals and Rlanford's notes, etc. 
And now, on the eve of our departure, as we survey with 
satisfaction the last finishing touches that we have put to 
our plans, the crowd of our coolies outside, and their head- 
man and our servants inside, busily sorting the various coolie- 
loads into which we have divided our baggage, stores of 
edibles, tents, shooting, collecting, surveying, photographic 
and other apparatus, we feel a thrill of pleasant half-anxious 
expectancy as to the success of our expedition, and the 
possibilities of the next few eventful weeks. 



To breathe the air of Sikhim free, 
To wander by her purling rills, 

And seek the beauty of her hills, 

The blueness of her sky. 

C. Macaulay's Lay of Lachcn. 

It was a bright smiling morning, on the 3rd of October, " 
and, beyond the blue hills, the snows stood forth invitingly 
clear, giving us high hopes for the success of our journey 
as we stepped out from Darjeeling, alpenstocks in hand, 
and followed by a small string of personal servants carry- 
ing our guns, field-glasses, maps, survey and photographic 
apparatus, collector's paraphernalia, and last but not least, 
that luxury of eastern travel — the lunch-basket, which it is 
never wise to let far out of sight in the hungry hills. Our 
party all told, including B. and myself, numbered fifty-three 
persons, of whom forty-one were porters, or coolies. 



Our personal servants were mostly Lepchas and Sikhim- 
ese Bhotiyas, lissom, active, and pleasant-featured, with long 
pig-tails and Chinese hats, shoulders draped with blue and 
white striped plaids, and a sword like a Roman warrior's, 
suspended in an open scabbard from their belt. Of these, 


the chief is Achoom, who is our courier, commissariat officer, 
chef de cuisine, waiter and valet, all rolled into one. He 
is a treasure of a servant; good-tempered, truthful, honest, 
faithful and hardworking as a slave in devotion to his 
master's interests, and full of wonderful resources in the 
many makeshifts of camp life. There is scarcely anything 


his deft fingers cannot do, from cooking some recherche 
dish, to carving a bamboo flute and decorating it by poker- 
work, or shooting game and dexterously preparing their skins 
for my collection, a work in which he delights, as he is 
like all true Lepchas, a born naturalist at heart. He is 
under the average height, but strong and wiry in build, 
has a sympathetic Mongolian face, an almost aquiline nose, 
slight moustache, well-formed mouth, usually relaxed in a 
pleasing smile, except when, in virtue of his high office, 
he is dressed in English broadcloth and an Indian turban 
on his head, when his face wears a dignified sense of his 
responsible position. His sword, hanging by his side, is 
ordinarily used for the peaceable purpose of chopping off 
branches of trees for the camp fire, or extra pegs for our 
tent, though it is ever ready in the defence of his master, 
whom he follows in dangerous places like a shadow. 

We have also a few Indian servants* And one of us 
has, as orderly, a fine-looking stalwart Sikh from my old 
regiment of Bengal cavalry. 

Our coolies are a motley crowd. They contain represent- 
atives of most of the Tartar tribes to be found at Darjee- 
ling; and strong as horses, what a display they make of 
muscular strength and of vigorous animalism 1 Many of 
them have brought their wives, great sturdy good-natured 
women who carry even heavier loads than the men. The 
variety of their costumes and colours is very great, and 
so is their noisy chatter as they go. They carry their loads 
on their backs, either in large conical Lepcha baskets lined 



with broad leaves to keep out the wet, or tied on to a 

wooden framework which is 
strapped over their shoulders 
like a knapsack; and they 
support these loads by a 
broad band of plaited cane 
that is passed over their fore- 
ixes the package 
on the shoulders. 


And in their hand each carries a hollow stem of bamboo, 
the length of a walking-stick, to support their load when 



resting by the way, and it also serves as a water-bottle, 
while traversing the sultry ravines. 

Quite a hero in his way is Kintoop, or " The Almighty 


One", our chief guide and the head of our transport and 
coolies. He is the explorer " K.P." of the survey reports, 
who did many deeds of daring in Tibet. With an iron 



constitution he has inherited, although a native of Sikhim, 
all the sturdy courage and roving propensities of his 
rugged Tibetan ancestors. His adventurous spirit found an 
outlet, while he was still a mere youth, in exploring many 
of the then unknown parts of Tibet, Bhotan, and Nepal, 
as assistant to the trained half-breed Tibetan spies sent 
by the Indian Survey to map out these jealously-guarded 
regions beyond our border. His qualifications for this rough 
and risky work, attracted the notice of Captain Harman, R.E., 
who sent Kintoop again to Tibet to solve one of the great 
geographical problems of the day — namely, as to whether 
the mighty river Tsang-po of Central Tibet, is continuous or 
not with the Brahmaputra or Dihong river which pierces the 
Eastern Himalayas at the plains of Assam. This problem 
had baffled all attempts at direct solution; for not even the 
Tibetans themselves know what becomes of their river after 
it turns southwards, a few marches to the S.E. of Lhasa, 
and enters a tract of country absolutely unexplored, a no- 
man's land, peopled by fierce savage tribes who have 
successfully resisted all entry of strangers into their country, 
indeed they kill the Tibetans on principle. How Kintoop, 
all alone and unarmed, forced his way far into this 
country, carrying his life in his hand, and almost perish- 
ing from hunger and cold ; how he was treacherously 
sold as a slave, and on escaping, and while still a fugitive, 
he struggled painfully on down the Lower Tsang-po, faithful 
to his mission, till he came almost within sight of the 
Assam plains, and then, when his further progress was 


absolutely barred, he, according to arrangement, threw 500 
specially-marked logs, each a foot long, into the river; and 
how this experiment, performed at such pains, miscarried, 
through no fault of his, but through no one having been 
sent to watch for these logs in Assam, owing to the death 
of Captain Harman from frost-bite caught among the snows 
of Kanchen-junga ; yet how, notwithstanding this unfortunate 
failure to direct and establish the connection between 
these two rivers, he brought back particulars of the Lower 
Tsang-po for nearly a hundred miles lower than any 
previous explorer; all the details of these achievements 
have been repeatedly related to me by Kintoop himself, 
and they are summarized in the reports of the Indian Survey 

In appearance, Kintoop, as seen in the foregoing picture, 
is a thick-set active man of medium height and middle 
age, with a look of dogged determination in his rugged, 
weather-beaten features; though as he talks his little dark 
eyes sparkle beneath his oblique Mongolian eyelids, and 
prematurely wrinkled brows. His complexion is no darker 
brown than a swarthy Italian. His face is hairless save 
for one or two straggling bristles on his upper lip. And 
altogether he is a picturesque figure, clad in his dark crimson 
Tibetan coat, long pig-tail, Chinese hat, and parti-coloured 
snowshoes, and a dagger stuck in his belt. His deep-chested 
voice I have often heard calling clearly from a hill-top 
some miles away, like a ship-captain's in a storm. He has 
all the alertness of a mountaineer, and with the strength 



of a lion he is a host in himself. Indeed he is quite the 
sort of man you can depend on to stick by you fearlessly 
through thick and thin. 

Our first day's march was only eight miles down the 


deep valley of the great Rang-eet river, that here divides 
the British district of Darjeeling from Independent Sikhim, 
to Badamtam, where there is a staging-house that saved 
us the trouble of pitching our tents. 

Scarcely had we begun our descent from the Mall, when 


we overtook our coolies, who had been despatched an hour 
previously. They had been unable to tear themselves 
suddenly away from civilization and the attractions of the 
Darjeeling bazaar, and now they were descending the 
winding path in single file, like a long line of ants. 

Lower down, past the white cupola of the Buddhist ceno- 
taph or Chor-ten of Dortsook with its pairs of eyes (see 
sketch on page 64), and past the Lama-temple with its rows 
of fluttering prayer-flags, and its prayer-barrels turning out 
vicarious prayers for the neighbourhood, we meet crowds 
of gay holiday-makers and hear unwonted sounds of revelry 
proceeding from the village below, the so-called Bhotiya 
Bustee ; and on arrival there we find it en fete, on account 
of the Feast of Lanterns of the Nepalese. The latter are 
small in stature, with features clearly betraying their Tartar 
descent. They now, however, pose as Hindoos, and have 
adopted the externals of Hindooism, and amongst others, 
this festival, which, though nominally held in honour of 
the goddess of good-luck — Luckee (or Lakshmi) — is really 
one of Nature's feasts, a harvest home, when the crops 
have been harvested and the granaries are full. And it is 
with the Nepalese the greatest gala day of all the year. 
All were dressed in their best, and the fun of the fair was 
raging fast and furious. Some were dancing and singing, 
others played pipes which sounded like the bag-pipes ; 
swings, of the type of the great wheel at Earl's Court, 
were whirled round with screaming girls and children, and 
wine was being freely circulated. 


During this festive outburst the Nepalese not only drink 
deeply themselves, but freely treat all their friends, ir- 
respective of caste and creed ; so that a sober man at such 
a time is quite a rarity among them. " And will the 
gentlemen be pleased to drink something," said one of 
them, offering us as we stood on the roadway, a seat and 
a not overclean-looking jug of beer. 

We declined this proffered kindness, and began to feel 
anxious about our coolies, lest they might be tempted to 
join the general dissipation, especially as most of them 
belonged to this very village. We noticed with some alarm 
that several of them were already tipsy, and what was 
worst of all, Kintoop, the headman, himself was not above 
suspicion. This looked serious ; for human heroes are, after 
all, only men and with men's weaknesses, and Kintoop's 
weakness was his fondness for wine ; though I must say 
that he seldom did indulge to great excess, and almost 
never when he had important business in hand. And here 
it certainly was not easy for our men to resist the pressing 
invitations of their hospitable Nepalese friends. For we saw 
several of the latter, good-naturedly seizing and stopping 
some of our coolies who chanced to be their comrades, 
and forcing their not unwilling victims to have a drink. 

Our march was now at a standstill, as most of the coolies 
had deposited their loads by the roadside, and were joining 
in the general merry-making. I had therefore to tackle 
Kintoop severely, and ordered him to collect his men and 
pilot them through this village without delay. And we 



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ourselves proceeded on with a few coolies who were carrying 
the most necessary things. 

Continuing our descent we pass again into the zone of 
tree-ferns, of which there are eight species within a short 
distance, at about 6,000 ft. elevation, and giant stag-moss ; 
and we wind along the hot shadeless flank of Lebong, or 
" the tongue-shaped spur", as this Lepcha name means. Axe 
and fire have shorn it of its trees for tea cultivation. Whole 
forests have been annihilated, leaving here and there only 
a solitary tree, or narrow belts of trees in the ravines, as 
evidence of the magnificent woods which have fallen a 
sacrifice to advancing civilization. One of the results of 
this wholesale removal of forest is the frequency of land- 
slips, through the heavy rain ploughing through the exposed 
soft soil. In several places stretches of the hill-sides had 
slid down, carrying with them their tea-bushes, so that the 
old adage for investors — " there is nothing like land, for it 
cannot run away" — is not strictly applicable to property 
in the Himalayas. 

At the end of this spur is the little Lamaist monastery 
of Ging. Its altar is covered with idols, objects that are 
worshipped as fetishes, and candles and sacrificial imple- 
ments. Its walls are frescoed with atrocious daubs, re- 
presenting many devils, deities and saints of Chinese design. 
The place, however, is worth visiting by those who have 
not seen the finer paintings in Tashiding and the larger 
temples of Sikhim. The guardian spirit of this place is 
represented on the wall as a hideous, tigerish monster, 


gorgon-headed, with tusks and out-thrust tongue : a destruc- 
tive demon who is worshipped with bloody sacrifices ; and 
we saw his shrine drenched with the blood of kids, fowls, 
and other animals. Yet these Lama-priests profess to be 
Buddhists, with whom the taking of life is absolutely 
prohibited ! The truth is that this bloody sacrifice is a 
vestige of the old devil-worship of the country. The people 
say, that God is a good spirit and harms no one ; but the 
devils are actively malignant, and therefore their goodwill 
must be secured by peace-offerings. So God is neglected, 
and the devils are worshipped instead. 

Still descending through tea-gardens for several miles, we 
enter a belt of semi-tropical forest, and about the eighth 
mile we reach the staging-house of Badamtam, at 2,500 
feet above the sea. It is picturesquely perched in a clearing 
in the forest, and commands fine views of Darjeeling, 4,000 
feet above us, and of the great Rang-eet river, 2,000 feet 
below us, glistening through the green foliage like a silver 
ribbon, and filling the valley with the soothing sound of its 
rushing waters. 

After our three hours' walk we were not sorry to find 
on entering the house, that Achoom, who had preceded us 
with the commissariat, had ready waiting for us a hot lunch, 
to which we did full justice. For drink we had a large 
bamboo jugful of the refreshing beer, that the Lepchas 
brew from a millet seed called Murzva. 12 The fermented 
grain is put into a jug formed by cutting off a joint of the 
giant bamboo, and this jug is then filled up with hot water. 


The liquor is imbibed by sipping it up through a thin 


reed like a straw. It tastes like weak whiskey-toddy or 
rum-punch with a pleasant acidity, and it is milder than 


the mildest English beer. It is the wine of the country 
and is a food as much as a drink. The men, women, and 
children delight to sip it at all times from morning till 
night. And they sing its praises in an apostrophe to the 
sipping reed, the best kind of which comes from the grassy 
hills of Sarrie (Tsari), where the reed is also used as an 
arrow in the chase : — 

O! sipping reed of Sarrie! 
Thou 'rt born to make us merry. 
Thy stem instils the luscious wine, 
The drink of gods, nectar divine. 
Thy shaft is shaped an arrow fine, 
That's fit for bravest princes' bow. 
Thy top bears up the banner-line 
Of praying-flags that Lamas twine, 
1 sipping reed of Sarrie ! 

Even the priests or Lamas are so addicted to this beverage 
that they sip it in their temples, and none can travel far 
without an attendant carrying a store of it. Indeed one 
of the commonest sights is to see a monk going his rounds 
sipping a jug of this beer as a solace to his pessimistic 
dogma that "all life is misery," for he then is able to 
contemplate the world with full approval. Whilst our truant 
coolies were dropping in, in twos and threes, we spent the 
afternoon in sauntering through the magnificent forest, 
revelling in the jungle sights and sounds — the flashing of a 
pheasant, and of the tiny sun-birds like winged gems, across 
the depths of green ; the loud whirring of the Cicad insects 
on the fern-covered trees high over head, the fluty cooing 
of a kind of cuckoo in the thick undergrowth, the cheery 


chirping of the squirrels as they scamper up and down the 
frail ladders of climbers, the sharp rat-tat-tat of the crimson- 
crested golden woodpecker on the stump of a dead tree, 
the ringing echo of the woodsman's axe followed by the 
crash of falling timber, and the hoarse bark of the Kakar 
deer echoing up the valley. These last-mentioned deer 
are common here, and I shot one last year within twenty 
yards of this very house. Black bears also abound, not 
the Indian bear, but the Himalayan (Ursus Tibetanus). 
They come out freely into the clearings of the tea-gardens 
when the Indian corn is ripening in June and July, and are 
nasty customers to meet at close quarters. You must also 
be on your guard against even more dangerous though 
more lowly foes. For we here encountered a deadly serpent, 
with fatal results — fatal for the serpent. It was an enormous 
cobra, measuring 56 inches in length, and of the pale 
variety. It raised itself with expanded hood in a menacing 
manner, but quickly backed away, unlike the more aggres- 
sive dark variety which generally pursues you. It was the 
Malayan kind, with a single solitary spot on its neck, and 
not with the pair of spectacles of the Indian variety. It 
is somewhat reassuring, however, to know that poisonous 
snakes seldom ascend the mountains so high as this, though 
I found two as high as Birch Hill (6,500 ft.) at Darjeeling, of 
other species than the cobra, namely, the "Krait" (Biingarns 
ccerulus) and Calliophis Mac/elandii, yet both almost as deadly. 
Going through these forests, you cannot possibly have 
a more interesting companion than the Lepcha, a true son 


of the forest. He is a born naturalist and keen sportsman. 
He knows the habits of every bird and beast and creeping 
thing ; and the properties of every plant. He is steeped 
in romance, and few are braver than he is, or so full 
of resource and self-reliant when battling against physical 
dangers in the forest. His quiet, impressionable, affectionate 
nature wins its way into your confidence, and his unruffled 
temper under difficulties cheers on the traveller who is in 
his company. 

It was interesting to watch them decoying some tiny 
brilliantly plumed sun-birds which here take the place of 
the humming-birds of America. When these were hiding 
in the thick shrubs and not one to be seen anywhere, a 
Lepcha who was with me, by blowing into his closed fists, 
imitated the hooting of a small owl which preys on these 
little birds, and almost immediately the adjoining shrubs 
were alive with these and other small birds, all twittering 
with excitement and craning their necks to see and to jeer 
at the helplessness of their nocturnal enemy, who, they well 
knew, could not see them in such broad daylight. And 
when this ruse failed to draw them after a few times, they 
immediately crowded out again when the Lepcha, with his 
lips applied to the back of his hand, imitated the squeaking 
of a small bird when it is seized by a hawk or other bird 
of prey. So curious were they to see which of their com- 
panions was being seized and devoured, that they exposed 
themselves freely for a few seconds, and then promptly 
hid away again. 


Or when you see some lovely orchids growing on the 
top of an enormously high tree, your Lepcha asks you 
whether you would like to get them, and he nimbly climbs 
the tree, cutting notches here and there for foothold, and 
fearlessly fetches them to you from that giddy height. And 
he also gives you their names, and tells you all about their 
habits, and how they differ from other species. 

Altogether the Lepcha is a very different sort of com- 
panion in the jungle from the Indian who knows and cares 
nothing about flowers, nor animals — except those that he 
eats or that eat him. 

As the darkness closed in we watched the pretty effect 
of the illuminations of the Feast of Lamps at Darjeeling, 
mapping out the town above us, and the thousands of 
twinkling lights in the clearings all over the hillsides. We 
retired, after an early dinner, with many misgivings for 
the morrow, because neither Kintoop nor about a dozen 
of his remaining men had yet turned up. 

At daybreak next morning we found a messenger from 
Kintoop to say that he was delayed in getting sober por- 
ters for the few remaining loads of luggage, but that we 
should start off and leave him to follow. But we decided 
to wait and see the baggage off in front of us, and it 
arrived in a few hours, not, however, on coolies, as no sober 
men were to be found, but on ponies ; and fortunately the 
road was practicable for ponies for two more days' march. 
So off we started again, and our coolies, looking ashamed 
of their dissipation of yesterday, now that the effervescence 



of their mirth had subsided, seemed anxious to atone for 
their misconduct by extra zeal. 

We dipped rapidly down the gorge of the great Rang- 
eet, which we had to cross. Below us, dense woolly white 


clouds filled the [depths of the lower valleys, giving the 
appearance of a snowed-up lake or frozen Norwegian fiord, 
from whose white shores rose up the dark outlines of the 
mountain ridges, range upon range, up to the dazzling 
peak of Kanchen-junga. 


As we descended by sharp zig-zags through almost five 
miles of the forest of Sal, (that timber tree inferior only to 
teak,) the clouds drifted in the morning breeze up the moun- 
tain sides and revealed the winding river with its silvery 
strands a thousand feet below us. Soon we reached the 
bottom of the gorge amongst whose rank vegetation and 
dark boulders "fever lurks in every brake". The passage 
of the small Rangnoo by a wooden bridge, brought us down 
to the bank of the great Rang-eet rushing noisily between 
steep mountains. This river is never fordable, and as the 
cane- bridge was broken we had to cross in a canoe ; but the 
skipper of this craft and his solitary assistant, whose services 
are so seldom in demand, were nowhere to be found, 
although they had been apprised of our coming. So a 
messenger was despatched to search for them in their fields, 
a mile up the valley. 

Meanwhile, we breakfasted among the boulders, mocked 
by the bare bones of the old cane-bridge. Tied to its 
piers as well as to the twigs of trees which bend over into 
the stream are numerous bundles of rags and prayer-flags, 
as offerings to the devils of the river. The water itself 
was deliciously cool, only 58 Fah., as it had come down 
from not far-distant glaciers, although the elevation was 
only 818 feet above the sea-level, and the temperature of 
the air at noon was 87 Fah. Some good rod-fishing is 
to be got here, including the great Indian carp or the 
Mahaseer. We came upon a Lepcha dining off a huge 
dragon-like lizard (Varanus draccena), generally called the 


Bis Cobra as it is erroneously believed to be poisonous. 
Another Lepcha was fishing with the rudest of nets, and 
in a hap-hazard way ; for the Lepchas shun the great rivers, 
as few of them can swim. He was, however, quite content 
with his small bag; very unlike the native Indian fishers, 
who make clean sweeps of even the smallest fry ; and when 
I have remonstrated with some of these on this point, 
they replied, "Why should we leave them for other men 
to catch?" 

Geologically, we were now down again amongst the 
slates and limestones and carboniferous shales ,3 which we 
encountered at the foot of the outer hills. As we descended, 
the gneiss formation got more and more micaceous until 
it became glistening mica, of which many of the boulders 
in the river bed are composed, though many are also 
blocks of gneiss, fallen from the rocks some thousands of 
feet above. 

Our crossing-place is at a relatively narrow part of the 
gorge where the river rushes in a series of rapids, though 
the actual fall of the river in the course of twenty-three 
miles above this point, as measured by Dr. Hooker, is 
only 987 feet. 

In crossing, we nearly came to grief. The canoe was 
only a floating beam which had been hollowed out by fire 
and axe. It had many ominous rifts, no rudder, and for 
an oar a bit of flat wood tied to a pole. When we had 
wedged ourselves into its narrow cavity, and several coolies 
had crammed in themselves and their bundles, lading it 


to its last inch, the two ferrymen dragged the laden crazy 
craft up stream some distance, and then poled it out with 
a long bamboo, broadside-on to the rapids, which seized it 
and hurled it swiftly down the stream. Then the ferrymen 
wildly plied their poles, and the canoe shot obliquely across 
the current, under the double impulse, to the opposite 
bank, where we bumped heavily on a boulder that sent 
us with a jerk into a swirl of relatively shallow backwater, 
at a point far below that from which we had started. It 
took some time to transport all our baggage and coolies 
and the ponies, which latter, poor things, were tied to a 
rope cable and hauled across, partly swimming, at consider- 
able risk to their lives from the swift current and the great 
boulders in its bed. As luck would have it, the only package 
which was damaged in this rough transit, was my box of 
photographic glass plates, about which I had given the 
strictest orders to preserve it carefully from damp or falls; 
for paper and celluloid films do not keep well in this climate, 
and you are almost forced to take weighty and fragile glass 
plates. One of the men in the excitement of landing it, 
dropped it bodily into the river. It was quickly fished out, 
and fortunately, its well-soldered contents were little the 
worse for this ducking. 

On the river bank at the bottom of this malarial gorge 
is a poor hamlet of charcoal-burners who suffer terribly 
from fever. They asked for medicine and I gave them some 
quinine, though this deadly fever usually lays hold of them 
with a grip that quinine cannot loosen. 


We were now in Native or "Independent" Sikhim, and 
missed the good roads of the British territory. The rugged 
narrow goat-track which sufficed the Sikhimese for a road 
led past rank crops of cardamoms, growing in the rich silt 
on the river banks, and through tall gingers. It was a 
stiff hot climb up out of this gorge for about 2,000 feet, 
with the afternoon's sun beating down on us. 

The stillness of these semi-tropical forests in the noontide 
heat strikes you as you rest to recover your breath in toil- 
ing up hill. Scarce a sound is to be heard, or any life to 
be seen, except a solitary bird, or squirrel; or sometimes 
a deer, as, startled from its siesta by our footsteps, it 
crashes through the rotten twigs and branches which strew 
your path ; or a few gorgeous butterflies float lazily among 
the foliage. Even the hum of insects seems to cease, so 
that as you listen you are almost startled by the sound of 
a falling leaf. 

Higher up, past the cedar-like timber-trees, "Toon" 
[Cedrela toona), of which tea-chests are made, we came to 
Cheer pines [Pinus longifolia), so common at the foot of 
the Northern Himalayas, but in damp Sikhim only found 
in a few relatively dry land-locked slopes like this. On 
gaining the shoulder of the gorge we emerged on to the 
open slopes of the hamlet of Kitam (2,840 feet), or "The 
Cotton Field ", a picture of pastoral simplicity. Its well-cul- 
tivated fields and meadows stretch up for many miles to 
Namchi on the flanks of Mount Tendong, where we had 
intended to camp; but we decided, as it was late in the 


afternoon, to stay here for the night, especially as it seemed 
to be beyond the range of malaria ; for after a height of 
of 3,000 feet or so, even dense forest ceases to be mala- 
rious, and the temperature here was 74 Fah., which was 
quite tolerable after the great heat of the day. 

Whilst our tents were being pitched in an orange-grove 
on the outskirts of the village we were regaled with Murwa- 
beer by the headman of the place, in freshly-cut bamboo 
jugs, and new sipping reeds, before a crowd of admiring 
natives. We afterwards strolled through the hamlet, among 
the homesteads which dot the hillside, perched on stilts 
amidst clumps of feathery bamboos, broad-leaved bananas 
and orange trees, now bearing their bright golden fruit. And 
we watched many of the villagers at their primitive looms, 
weaving their homespun cotton and nettle-fibre, which they 
dye with the wild madder or Manjeet, from the jungle 
near by. Their very parasols grow by the wayside. It was 
comical to see children sheltering themselves from a shower 
of rain by a leaf of the giant calladium, which they had 
plucked in the adjoining jungle. 

I experienced, as usual, much difficulty in photographing 
these intensely superstitious people. They exhibited a lively 
horror and hid away whenever the lens, or "the evil eye 
of the box" as they called it, was pointed at them; for 
they believed that it worked some dark magic on them 
and took away their souls with their pictures, and so put 
them in power of the owner of their photograph to cast 
his spells over them. And similarly a photograph of the 



scenery they alleged blighted the landscape. Some per- 
suasion coupled with a small present, however, generally 


overcame their scruples. 

An old Lepcha woman here presented us with some eggs. 
A present of eggs, however, may be embarrassing at 


times in Sikhim ; for it is a common way of proposing 
marriage, and the acceptance of the basket of eggs by 
the object of one's affections settles the question. ,4 A circum- 
stantial story is told of the sister of the present Rajah 
or king of Sikhim, as to how when she visited Dar- 
jeeling for the first time, she was so captivated by the 
charms of a certain European there, that she wished to 
marry him. So when he accepted her present of eggs, she 
bluntly asked him to marry her right away ; and she was 
only made to understand with difficulty that he already 
had a wife, and could not according to our customs take 

As the daylight faded, we returned to our tents, and 
after dinner, we sat outside watching the picturesque groups 
of our people at their camp fires. Some men and women 
were cooking, others fetching water in long bamboo pitchers; 
some men lolling lazily or stretched on the grass were 
singing snatches of Tartar songs in a quavering minor key : 

My love is like the image, in a pure silver mirror 

Beyond the reach of grasping hands and only won by loving heart. 

Like a tree of costly coral, like a leaf gemmed with turquoise, 

Like a fruit of precious pearls, you, my love, are rare. 

You are the loveliest of lovely flowers, and where'er you go 

I as a turquoise butterfly will follow my flower. 

Others were jesting in rough fashion with each other, or 
playing games of chance, for all are inveterate gamblers. 
Some were piously counting their beads, or crooning some 
mystic spell in a low deep chant and pompous supernatural 
voice which seems to come from as low down as their 


boots; while others had already retired for the night into 
the flimsy booths which they had rigged up with branches, 
and the sheets of waterproof matting {goom) which we had 
issued to each coolie to protect our baggage from the rain ; 
and in these rude arbors many were already fast asleep, 
pillowing their heads on their loads or empty baskets. 

To our leeward, so that the smoke does not annoy 
us, is our indispensable cook's department. Achoom is at 
present being relieved of the drudgery of the actual cooking 
whilst we are in these lower valleys, by my Indian cook, 
also a tried man, and well accustomed to camp life, having 
been with me through the Burmese war of 1886 — 87, up 
to the Chinese frontier; and since then he has been regu- 
larly camping about with me. His rough active life has 
given him a haggard appearance very unlike the sleek 
comfortable cook of towns. Indeed his sharp and almost 
cadaverous features are so suggestive of the mummy of 
Rameses the Great, that we have dubbed him "Rameses"; 
and he takes quite kindly to this name, doubtless because 
his real name is Ram. Rameses may be trusted to serve 
up something savoury in a marvellously short time, when- 
ever and wherever we call a halt by the way. But what 
a weird figure he cuts as he crouches over his pots and 
pans amid the smoke, his thin face lit up by the lurid glare 
of the spluttering, crackling log-fire; more like a magician 
concocting some mystic potion, than our worthy domestic 
preparing al fresco a simple meal for to-morrow. 

Then Kintoop came up for orders for the morrow's 


march. And after dismissing him we sat discussing our 
plans and other matters, until the bustle of the camp ceased, 
the cooking fires died down, and the eerie hooting of the 
great wood-owl, the screech of the night-jar, the flickering 
of the tiny lamps of the fire-flies, and the cry of the tiger- 
cat, suggested that it was time for us to turn into our tents. 



They journeyed over steep Tendong 

And through the Vale of Teesta fair. 
By Silling's slopes and Yeung's Mendong 

And Kubbi's smiling pastures rare 

And Ryott's roaring falls, 
To where high perched on Man's breast 

With banners gay and brazen crest 

Shone Sikhim Raja's 1S halls. 

C. Macaulay's Lay of Lachen. 

THE rustle of the early breeze amongst the trees, the 
crackling of the freshly-lit camp fires, and the stir of our 
waking servants outside, awoke us next morning, just as 
the first streaks of daylight were stealing through the chinks 
of our tent. We were up, dressed, and outside in a few 
minutes: and whilst an early cup of tea was clearing away 
the cobwebs of sleep, our tent was struck and packed up ; 
and both we and our coolies were again on the move, 
soon after the sun had risen. To get the men started off 
in the chill of the morning, cost Kintoop much trouble ; 


for these men, unlike the coolies of the plains, always eat 
before starting. Nor was it easy to get the strongest men 
to carry the heaviest loads, for these were usually shuffled 
on to the weaker back of some "willing horse", and the 
strongest coolie often contrived to make up a bulky-looking 
load, containing little else than the light wraps of himself 
and his comrades. 

It was a real pleasure to step out briskly in the keen 
cool air to get warm ; and to stop here and there by 
the wayside to pluck some of the tempting brambles and 
yellow raspberries that overhung our winding path, as we 
brushed aside the dew-drops which hung like pearls from 
the tips of the foliage. And we enjoyed again the delights 
of drinking delicious water from the crystal streamlets that 
crossed our path. 

As we ascended this open valley of the Mangpoo, with 
the river far beneath us, past the picturesque huts of the 
Lepchas that dotted the clearings on the hill side, Achoom 
was hailed as an old friend by everyone we met. He is 
almost the only Lepcha in service at Darjeeling who has 
remained true to the traditions of his fathers, " among the 
faithless, faithful only he ". One amiable old man, who 
was introduced as Achoom's uncle, pressed us to "honour 
his hut with a visit". We gladly accepted his invitation, 
especially as these Lepchas, who are the aborigines of 
the country, are extremely interesting, not only for their 
many charming traits, but also chiefly because they represent 
the state of primitive man when he subsisted by hunting, 



fishing, and gathering wild fruits and digging roots; and 
they now are a vanishing race, fast disappearing before the 
tide of emigrants from the more active and civilized tribes 
who have lately swept in great waves into their country. 


These "Lepchas", as they are called by Europeans, 
following the Nepalese name of the tribe; 16 "Rong", 
as they call themselves, and which is their proper name; 
are known to the Tibetans as M'dn-ba or Mon-rik, that is 


"people of the M011 country" — a general Tibetan name 
for the lower Himalayas, from Kashmir down to Assam and 
Burma. The Lepchas were the sole inhabitants of these 
hills until about 250 years ago, when Tibetans entered the 
country and usurped the government, and appropriated 
to themselves all the best lands on the cool hills, driving 
the Lepchas down to seek new homes in these lower 
valleys and the still lower malarial gorges. These Tibetan 
settlers and their descendants are generally known to 
Europeans by the Indian term of " Bhotiya" that is "an 
inhabitant of Bitot or Tibet;" but we will call this ruling 
race of Sikhim, " Sikhimese Bhotiyas ", to distinguish them 
from the Bhotiyas of Tibet proper, and those of Nepal 
and Bhotan, all of whom differ considerably. 

Now that you see a pure Lepcha, side by side with 
these other tribes, you could never mistake him, not even 
for a Sikhimese Bhotiya, of whom many possess a consider- 
able strain of Lepcha blood, so sharply is he distinguished 
from all these in physique, features, and dress, in speech 
and manners, in customs and character. 

He is, indeed, with his distinctive traits, physical and 
moral, very much what his environments have made him. 
Living in a country which yields to him, without husbandry, 
a profusion of wild fruits and edible roots and other jungle 
products, the Lepcha is naturally indolent and easy-going. 
His close companionship with nature has made him a 
naturalist, a tender lover of flowers, and something of a 
philosopher ; though his narrow gorges have narrowed his 


views. His solitary life in the peaceful depths of the great 
forests makes him timid and shy of strangers. His hard 
experience of the forces of nature, the storms and floods 
which wreck his home and scanty crops, and scatter desolation 
and death around him, has made him a worshipper of malig- 
nant devils, and intensely superstitious. His exposed bivouack- 
ing at night in malarial gorges, has sapped much of his vigour 
and enervated him. His roving life has made him love liberty 
and hate restraint, leading him to shun service, and preventing 
him ever combining with his fellow-tribesmen against a com- 
mon foe. And this unwarlike spirit, crushed under generations 
of Tibetan oppressors, has left little of the heroic in his compo- 
sition, when he is pitted against disciplined masses of other 
tribes. But, as we have seen, he is a keen sportsman, a born 
naturalist, sympathetic, frank and generous to a fault, and no 
one can be braver than he is in facing danger in the forest. 
We follow, then, this genial old Lepcha to his hutlike 
home in one of the clearings. His mild Mongolian features, 
hair parted down the middle, scanty beard and moustache 
impart a somewhat effeminate appearance ; but the frank happy 
look in his honest eyes stamps him as the simple contented 
child of the forest, who dearly loves a joke and laughs heartily 
at the comic side of things. And his soft, slow, staccato 
speech strikes agreeably on the ear after the loud harsh tones 
of the Bhotiya or the shrill hurried jargon of the Nepalese. 
His lissom figure is clad in a long plaid of blue and 
white striped cloth of home-spun nettle-fibre or cotton, which 
is wound round his body and descends to the knee, the 


loose end being thrown gracefully over his shoulder, leaving 
the right arm free. His waist is girdled by a red or blue 
band, from which is suspended his long, formidable-looking, 
straight, one-edged knife (ban) in an open wooden scabbard, 
like a Roman soldier's sword. This knife is to him even more 
than the kookrie is to the Goorkha. With it he clears the 
jungle, builds his hut, skins the animal he shoots with his 
arrow, or snares in the forest; "it is his sword in battle, his 
table-knife, his hoe, spade and nail-parer," his gimlet, ham- 
mer and razor. His hair he wears in a pig-tail (his women- 
folk plait theirs in two), and when a hat is added, on ceremo- 
nial occasions, as in the group at page 102, it is usually 
of cane-work and like an inverted flower-pot, resembling 
generally those of the wild Naga and Abor tribes of Assam, 
and bears a small plume of grass or peacock feathers in front. 
Around his neck he hangs small packets of charms against 
the evil eye etc. For leggings he has a broad tape tied round 
the leg from the ankle to the knee. His feet are bare ; and 
when he travels he carries a wallet, slung over his shoulder, 
to hold his pipe, food etc., like his kinsmen, the Nagas and 
Kachins and other Indo-Chinese tribes further east, and in his 
hand his bow and arrows, as very few Lepchas possess a gun. 
His flimsy hut is almost idyllic in its simplicity. It is 
perched on stout posts amid a few orange trees and bamboos, 
and surrounded by a patch of cultivation — a small plot 
fenced in by thorny branches, for a few gourds, turnips and 
chillies, and beyond this a few small crops of maize, barley, 
millet for beer, and a little terraced land for irrigated rice. 

9 6 


This scanty cultivation, if it may be dignified by such a term, 
is usually a mere scratching of the ground, and is done 
mostly by the women, while the men do the hunting. 

The house, with the exception of the log framework, 
is built almost entirely of bamboo. The floor, the walls, 
the roof and the thatch are all of bamboo, as well as the 


vessels and cook- 
ing utensils. On 
the ground floor, 
in the angular 
space between 
the sloping hill- 
side and the platform or floor of the hut, are housed the 
pigs, fowls and other live stock ; and I have rather unpleasant 
recollections of nights spent in such huts over the squealing 
pigs ; for the Lepchas treat this animal quite as one of the 
family, and deem roasted pig the most delicious of morsels, 
an opinion which proves merely that human nature here 
is very much like the same brand elsewhere. 


We ascend the notched log of wood which does duty 
for a stair, to the landing, where we are received by the 
matron and her family. And we have to stoop humbly to 
enter the low door. Once inside, as I am putting down 
my hat on a clean-looking vacant spot, the good wife, with 
horror on her face, snatched up my hat and placed it else- 
where, and apologetically explained that the devil of the 
house is at present occupying that spot, and his Satanic 
Majesty's fearful wrath would be incurred were anything 
placed on that tabooed spot, and some incantations will 
be needed to undo the harm I have done. When we are 
seated on a low stool, and our eyes get accustomed to the 
subdued light and the smarting from the smoke — which, 
as there is no chimney, half fills the room before it finds 
its slow escape through the chinks in the roof and walls, 
tanning these with dark frescoes, — we then see that the 
interior reflects the simple mode of living of its inmates, 
and shows that their few wants are easily satisfied. There 
is no division into rooms, as the family sleep altogether, 
untroubled by the Western scruples on such matters ; and 
they never think of undressing when they retire to rest, pro- 
bably from the need of remaining ever ready to defend them- 
selves and their cattle from wild beasts. At one end is an 
open fireplace formed of a few stones and baked mud. Beside 
it are a few bamboo vessels, and leaves for plates ; above- 
it hangs a frame for smoking meat, though, considering 
that the room is constantly filled more or less with smoke, 
this contrivance seems superfluous. There is also a primi- 



tive loom and spindle ; but no table and no beds, for the 
inmates dine and sleep on the floor. At the other end is 
the granary, containing a few baskets of grain, with a large 
collection of Murwa millet and yeast for brewing beer ; 
yams and miscellaneous roots, berries, tender shoots of ferns 
and other forest produce. For their ordinary food consists 
mainly of roots which they dig up in the forest, supple- 
mented by berries, fungi, and spinach of boiled leaves, with 
occasional game; but even frogs are not refused. There 
is scarcely a plant too tough for them to chew, from which 
they do not abstract some nourishment. Salt is the only 
article they need which they do not find ready to hand ; 
and this they get by barter — not by money. They never 
had money until lately, as they did not need it, and did 
not know the use of it, and have no word for it in their 
language. When money was first given to them, if they 
did accept it they used to wear it round their necks, as 
an ornament. Indeed they feed, clothe and house them- 
selves almost entirely on the products of the jungle. They 
never depend on their few scanty crops, so that famine 
from which the Indians every now and then suffer so ter- 
ribly, is to them practically unknown. 

Amongst the rafters and on bamboo brackets on the 
wall are stored away some bright golden heads of maize 
as seed for next year's crop ; one or two spare garments, 
a bamboo smoking-pipe, a bamboo flute and harp., and a 
few nick-nacks — including charms against devils. There are 
also some bows and arrows, and some aconite root to make 


a deadly paste for poisoning their arrows when used in 
war or against tigers and other big game. 

The family relations of the Lepchas show traces of 
matriarchy, in which the children trace their descent through 
their mothers and not through their fathers. Now the 


Lepcha has usually only one wife, and there is no 
ceremonial marriage. Some of the younger women-folk 
are remarkably comely, considering their Spartan up- 
bringing; and many of the children are almost fair and 
chubby, but their hard exposed life is soon fatal to good 


looks, especially as most of them go naked. The in-door 
dress of the women is a close-fitting gown without sleeves, 
and this was probably their full dress originally. But now, 
for out of doors, they wear over all a long, loose, wrapper- 
like white cotton gown with long wide sleeves turned up in 
Tibetan fashion at the cuffs to show the red lining — a dress 
which effectually masks the figure and has little grace in 
its drapery. Their hair is parted in the middle and done 
up into two pig-tails which are usually gathered in a knot 
on the crown and secured with a silver pin. And over the 
head is thrown a gaudy silk handkerchief, drooping negli- 
gently over the neck, somewhat in the fashion of a Spanish 
peasant-girl's. Around the neck they wear as much jewellery 
as they can afford. Their stockingless feet are unshod. And 
many of them as they walk, busily twirl a distaff, acting up 
to the old Saxon ideal of a wife and maid — namely, wif, 
to weave, and spinster. 

In domestic life these Lepchas are gentle and especially 
kind to their children and their elders. They offered us 
some native tea and Murzva beer. This "tea", however, is 
not made from the tea plant, which these poor people 
cannot afford to buy. It is a decoction brewed from the 
leaves of the maple, vaccinium, wild vine and other trees 
and herbs. But we must now push on with our journey, 
after giving each of the girls a cheap coral necklace, and 
each of the children a bright new two-anna-bit, like an 
English threepenny piece. We had laid in a large stock 
of these coins, as they come in handy for small services 


and for overcoming the objections of many of the people 
to have their photographs taken. 

Up this valley, through old clearings on the hillside now 
overgrown with rank smelling wormwood, we passed some 
copper mines on our right. These copper mines are worked 
on very primitive and wasteful principles, and entirely by 
Nepalese lessees, for the superstitious Sikhimese intensely 
dread all mining operations. They believe that the ores 
and veins of metals are the stored treasure of the earth- 
spirits ; and that the removal of this treasure enrages these 
malignant spirits, who visit the robbery with all sorts of 
ill-luck, plagues of sickness on men and cattle, and failure of 
their too scanty crops. The Nepalese call these mines khaiii 
or panch-khani, and use the copper chiefly for their coinage. 

Thence through more stretches of wormwood, which with 
the American ageratum seizes on all the fallow fields, we reach 
the village or Mik (3,700 feet) on the shoulder of Silok-vok, or 
the "Stair of the Rhinoceros." These animals were once 
common here, says tradition, but now they are not to be 
found within about fifty miles down the valleys. It is to 
be noted, however, that " Silok " is also the name of a 
giant tree (Terminalia pentaptera) that is found here. We 
soon gained the ridge leading up to the graceful mountain, 
Tendong. Here the headman invited us to sit down in 
front of his house, and treated us to Murwa beer. Then 
continuing our ascent, we reached Namchi (5,608 feet) and 
pitched our tents in a grove of chestnuts near the so-called 
" fort " of the feudal chief of this part of Sikhim, the Lasso Kazi. 



The Kazi is a sort of baron, the hereditary lord of half 
a hundred villages and many a mile of forest ; and one 
of the twelve chiefs among whom Sikhim is parcelled out 
for revenue purposes. 17 He is of course not a Lepcha, but 
a Sikhimese Bhotiya. 

Soon after our arrival he sent his steward to us with a 


present of a few oranges, bananas, milk, butter, eggs and 
fowls ; and a message that he himself would like to visit 
us in the afternoon. Before the appointed hour a large 
mat was spread near our tents, and on it were placed 
three European chairs on Tibetan rugs ; and a message 
was sent to say that the chief was coming. He came, at 
tended by his daughters and a tail of retainers, kinsmen 


and vassals, including slaves, — for regular slavery still exists 
here, though of a mild type, and often as security for the 
payment of some debt. We exchanged greetings, he taking 
off his Chinese hat and giving a formal bow in Chinese 
style, after which he asked us to be seated and sat down 
himself. His picturesque retainers, most of whom wore 
Lepcha plaids, remained standing, whilst his daughters, 
bright-eyed, giggling girls, seated themselves unceremoni- 
ously on the mat behind him. Three jugs of his own special 
brew of Murwa beer were brought forth, of which one was 
set down on a stool before each of us, and as often as we 
sipped some up through reeds, the jug was replenished. 

We now saw how much these Bhotiyas of Sikhim, the 
ruling race and to which Kintoop belongs, differ from the 
mild Lepchas. Although leavened to some extent with 
Lepcha blood, they retain most of the rough traits and 
features of their Tibetan ancestors beyond the Himalayas. 
They are tall, hardy mountaineers, who keep mostly to the 
cool uplands and seldom descend to the unhealthy gorges. 
The are powerfully built, their leg muscles are especially 
well developed. Their ordinary dress is like that of the 
Lepchas, as this suits the country better than Tibetan 
costume, but they usually wear a soft felt Tibetan hat. 
Most of them, however, are like Kintoop, dressed somewhat 
like Tibetans. Over their inner vest and trousers of cotton 
is worn a large loose woollen gown of a claret colour, high 
collared, and with very long wide sleeves, turned up at 
the cuff to show the white and blue lining, and girdled at 


the waist by a scarf. It contains no pockets, as the pocket 
is made by pulling up the front of the gown above the 
girdle ; and into this capacious cavity is stored away a 
prodigious number of articles ; the wooden drinking-cup 
(f or-pa), pipe and tobacco, matches, flint and steel, small 
knives, purse, charms, rosary, prayer-wheel, books, needles 
and thread, and varied personal nick-nacks in addition to 
food. Needless to say the bulging of these bulky articles 
often gives a Falstaffian roundness to the figure. In the 
girdle is stuck a sword or dagger. 

Our host was dressed like a Tibetan grandee, in a long 
robe of flowered dark blue silk, gathered up at the waist 
by a red girdle, and showing an inside embroidered vest, 
with high brocaded collar ; loose trousers of pale blue silk, 
and black velvet boots. On his head he wore a pork-pie hat, 
instead of the usual skull-cap ; and from his right ear hung 
a long pendant golden earring , set with turquoises. 

He was a middle-aged man of pleasant manners. Speaking 
in Hindustanee, he asked after our health, where we were 
going, and various questions about Darjeeling and that 
wonderful city, Calcutta. Whilst we were thus engaged, a 
noisy crowd of some hundred men came up the hill, preceded 
by one or two subordinate officials. This uproar we learned 
was a protest by the peasantry and serfs against a demand 
for forced labour, which they deemed unusually excessive 
and grievous. Sikhim has a sort of feudal or still more primi- 
tive government, which forces the people, other than the 
priests or Lamas, to work for it whenever and wherever 


called on, without remuneration. An order had been sent to 
this chief to send a large quantity of building materials 
and labour, as well as cash, towards the erection of new 
buildings at the Rajah's head-quarters ; and these people 
were complaining bitterly that they had no money, and 
that their crops would be ruined were they to leave them 
at present. They were still louder in their complaints when 
told that this order must certainly be complied with at 
once. What the people fear most in such cases is not so 
much the forced labour and cash tax that is imposed, as 
the "squeezing" or unscrupulous blackmailing by rapacious 
subordinate officials; for even "the Kazi himself", says Mr. 
Edgar, 1S "as far as I can make out, keeps the greater portion 
himself, paying over to the Rajah a certain fixed contri- 
bution." It was some time ere the hubbub ceased, and 
the least noisy of all the people, though not the least 
numerous, were the Lepchas, whose rule of conduct almost 
seems to be " Give unto every man all he asketh." 

This, indeed, is one of the most curious survivals of the 
primitive stage of Society and the Family, in that the 
Lepchas seem to have had absolutely no true conception 
of private property until they learned the idea from contact 
with Bengal traders. Previously, as with their cognates, 
the ruder Indo-Chinese tribes on the Assamese and Burmese 
frontiers, everything belonged absolutely to the chief, who 
as a rule allowed his subjects to retain possession of as 
much of what they acquired as he himself did not immedi- 
ately want; but it was only by way of a loan. Thus, the 


individual had no motive for amassing property, as he could 
not expect to keep it. And this perhaps is the chief reason 
for the so-called "laziness" of the Lepcha; for, robbed of 
his incentive to exertion, why should he slave to amass 
property when he cannot keep it and reap the benefit of 
his labours? Even now, under the present form of govern- 
ment in this land of the Lepchas, the cultivator has no 
title to the soil. He may cultivate any unoccupied land 
without any formal permission. But the assessment, as in 
Burma and Manipur, is on the number of persons and cattle 
and not on the land. Even our host the Kazi has no real 
proprietary right in the land, says Edgar, though he has 
a kind of hereditary title to his office. 

Now, however, that the English assumed, a few months 
ago, a leading hand in the government we may expect a 
re-arrangement of these matters upon more modern lines, 
and the commutation of service for money payment, that 
is to say rent; as in the old feudal system in England 
when liberties of all kinds had to be paid for by money. 
Such an arrangement is needed, not only to emancipate 
the servile class, but also to provide funds for making good 
roads and opening up the country. 

A curious Tibetan code of laws supposed to guide 
the rulers of the country has lately been found by Mr. 
White. It is an odd mixture of Buddhist maxims with 
trial by ordeal and other barbarous pre-Buddhist practices. 
Its most interesting features have been thus summarized : " — 
"The regulations regarding government servants are delight- 


fully general in form. They are to ' leave off their own 
work and apply themselves entirely to Government work ' : 
they are never to use the name of Government for their 
private ends: they must give just judgment and not favour 
those who can reward them : inquire diligently into all cases 
and leave no case undecided, so that all men can say, ' your 
work has been well done.' The laws of evidence are 
practically that a patient listening must be given to both 
sides. The punishments for offences vary according to 
the gravity of the offence. The murder of father or mother 
or holy men may involve the death penalty, but the killing 
of others is punishable by fines varying from 10 oz. to 
300 oz. of gold. Curiously enough ' old lamas ' are classed 
with men of ' no rank ' and personal servants ; they can 
be killed for 80 oz. ahead. In cases where blood is shed, 
without life actually being taken, the penalties are compara- 
tively light; though in the interests of order a man may 
be beheaded for wounding a superior. For wounding his 
own servant a man is not fined, but he must tend the 
wounded man. So in a quarrel, the man who first drew 
his knife is fined, and the wounded one must be nursed by 
his assailant. Blood feuds are obviously not encouraged in 
Sikhim : the Pathan would find no sympathy under the 
shadow of Kanchen-junga. For the false and avaricious, 
certain oaths are required ; and they may even have to 
submit to the ordeal of carrying hot stones or plunging 
the hand into boiling oil. Lamas and monks should not be 
sworn, neither should ' magicians, shameless persons, women, 


fools, the dumb and children.' This categorical enumeration 
of persons on whom oaths will probably not be binding is 
not complimentary to the women-folk of Sikhim. The rela- 
tions between man and wife are according to primitive 
ideas. Divorce is simplicity itself: a husband who wishes 
to be separated from his partner pays her a small sum of 
money, varying according to the length of the time they 
have been married. A wife gives a fixed sum and ' one 
suit of clothes' "1 

Scarcely had we left the Kazi ere we received further 
insight into the summary methods of his patriarchal govern- 
ment. The headman of the village who had entertained us 
on our way up this morning, came running to us with 
dishevelled dress and uttering in loud tones the truly 
Hibernian complaint : — " The landlord came a few hours ago 
and demanded an exorbitant sum of money down on the 
spot for the king ; and when I protested that I could not 
pay it and had not got it, he with his men raided my 
house, carrying off all my valuables and everything he 
could lay hands on, money, jewellery and even grain and 
beer; and," he added plaintively, "I implore you gentle- 
men of the just English Government to help me against 
this high-handed robbery." We, of course, could do nothing, 
so he left us vowing that he would go to Darjeeling to 
seek redress from the English Governor. 

The house of the Kazi, or baron, is called a fort or castle 
(jong) ; and as is usual, it is situated on a spot selected for 
defence against native attack, though unprotected against 


modern weapons. It is a two-storied stone building on 
a stone platform, with a balcony and several rooms, the 
chief of which contains the family altar with the image of 
Buddha and various gods ranged on shelves. The building 
is rather mean in appearance, although built of stone and 
logs in place of the bamboo of the vassals ' huts, to mark 
the advance since the Lepcha rule, when, as with most 
wild tribes, the house of the chief differed little from the 
poorest of his retainers. There is a little rude carving on 
the doors. The floor is boarded with rough hewn planks ; 
the roof of the usual mushroom-head shape, is thatched with 
strips of bamboo ; but part of this roofing was being replaced 
by corrugated iron, a sign of advancing civilization ! 

A loud noise of drums and bells and blowing of horns 
at sundown attracted our attention to the monastery-temple 
near by. It is a barn-like building of the usual Sikhimese 
style, and of scarcely more architectural interest than a "Free" 
or dissenting church. The door, as usual, faces the east ; and 
by its side is a huge prayer-barrel about six feet high, 
drowsily turned by an old sitting devotee, by jerking a string 
in the manner sketched by Hooker, and each half revolu- 
tion is registered by the striking of a bell, giving the effect 
of a chime, as the bells are slightly different in tone. 
I was amused at the clumsy lying of the Lama-priests 
in charge. I had been unable to procure at Darjeeling a 
certain Tibetan book which gives a legendary history of 
Tibet, and of which most monasteries possess copies. In 
reply to my queries the Lamas denied having a copy, but 


on looking over the pigeon-holes of their library, where 
great bundles of books are stacked, I espied one. On this, 
the Lamas were not a whit abashed ; they smiled and 
stoutly refused to lend it at any price. Here, however, I 
got from a Tibetan Lama, who chanced to be passing, that 
exquisitely carved necromantic sash of human bones, which 
is now displayed in my collection in the British Museum. 
Over our camp-fire the Lepchas told us weird tales till 
phantoms seemed to flit in the surrounding gloom. There 
is a certain romantic prettiness in their peopling all the 
streams, woods and peaks with nymphs and dryads, kelpies 
and other sprites. One of them told us the legend of 
Tendong, the graceful mountain that towered above us, and 
which we were to cross on the morrow. Its tall cone stands 
between the two greatest rivers of Sikhim, the Teesta and 
the Great Rang-eet, at their junction. 

or ' The Uplifted Horn '. 

In the old. old days when there were none but the Rong (i. e. ' Lepchas ') 
in this country, a great flood deluged the land. The waters drowned 
all the people in the valleys and covered all the mountains except this 
peak Tendong, and that of his sister Mainom, the adjoining mountain 
to the north. The few survivors who had fled to Tendong saw the 
peak of Mainom disappear under the water, and hence it is called 
'Mainom', (properly Ma-nom) or 'The Disappearing Sister'; and the 
shrieks of the drowning can still be heard from Tendong, which then 
alone remained above the flood. The still rising waters lapped this 
peak also, and threatened to swallow it, whereupon the surviving people 
prayed to the mountain to save them, and it then miraculously elongated 
itself, and kept its clinging refugees above the rising flood. Hence this 
mountain was named Tendong, properly Tun-rong^ or ' The Uplifted 
Horn'. After a time the waters fell, but ever afterwards the grateful 
Rong (Lepchas) have fervently worshipped this mountain, which had in 
this miraculous way saved their ancestors. 


Now this legend of a Sikhimese Mount Ararat possibly 
preserves, I believe, the tradition of a local flood caused 
by the damming up of the Teesta river by a great land- 
slip, below its junction with the Rang-eet. For smaller floods 
are occasionally occurring in this way ; and on the other 
side of the valley, opposite Tendong, we have the local 
names of Rang-iroon and Rang-liot, which in the Lepcha 
mean "The Turning of the Great River", and "The Brimful 
Great River " ; and which the Lepchas explain in a legend 
which tells how the Rang-eet river quarrelled with his 
spouse, the Teesta, and refusing to go with her, carried 
his waters high up the valley to the two sites above 
mentioned. This legend as told to me, runs : 


la the beginning of the world, when the rivers were first let down from 
the mountains, the King of Serpents, '•Pa-ril-byuJ led the Teesta River, 
straight down to the plains, so that the course of this river is generally 
straight, and hence the Teesta was called ' The Straight-going Great 
Female River' (Rang-nyo-ung). On the other hand, the other chief river 
of Sikhim, the great Rang-eet, was led down by the quail-like bird, 
Q Tut-fo ' {Pitta Nepalensis). Now this bird, on the way, feeling hungry, 
ran about here and there searching for food, and thus it led the Rang-eet 
an extremely winding circuitous course, so that when the river ap- 
proached the plains, he found that the Teesta had already arrived there 
and had occupied the only available outlet. Waxing wroth at being 
thus forestalled by a female, the Rang-eet turned himself round and 
retired amongst the mountains, till his waters rose to Rang-iroon and 
Rang-liot. Then, fearing lest his rashness might endanger the world, 
he repented and returned and espoused the Teesta, and they twain have 
flowed on together ever after. 

These legends, of course, may possibly have arisen through 
false etymologies of the words, especially as the Lepcha 
names of the Rang-eet and Teesta may also be rendered 




respectively, "The Beloved Retiring One " and u The Great 
Sister or Queen " rivers. If such an enormous landslip 
had occurred, it must soon have been broken through; 

for no evidence of extensive 
lacustrine deposits have been 
found here, such as exist in the 
Valley of Nepal where such 
a cataclysm certainly did take 
place : and there tradition still 
tells us that the plains of 
Katmandu were 
covered by a 
great lake till 
a saint named 
" The Mellow- 
Voiced One " 
(Manjusri) cut 
the dam with 
his sword, and 
let the river es- 
cape ; hence that 
river is now call- 
ed "The Flee- 
ing One' ' (BagJi- 
mati). With regard to our Sikhim legends, it is remark- 
able that the bird therein mentioned is almost wingless, 
like most of the extinct birds, and thus presumably of a 
most ancient type. 



The following morning (6th October), we crossed the 
steep shoulder of Tendong (8,675 ft.) through a fine forest 
of oaks, chestnuts, maple, birch and magnolias, and dipped 
down to Temi in the valley of the Teesta. We were told 
there were leopards about, and we saw the tracks of 
bears, wild goats (thar) and wild sheep (" barhel", the Ovis 
nehur). The latter animals had been digging up the ashes 
of some old camp-fires for the salt, for want of which they 
suffer so much. We also saw several Kaleej pheasants 
{Gallopliasis melanonotus), and higher up, the fine red 
horned pheasants {Ceriornis satyra), the Bap of the Bhoti- 
yas ; but we had no time to go after them just then. 

Game is not, after all, so scarce on these mountains, as 
is generally believed ; though it is difficult to get at, in 
the evergreen forest, where from the numerous perennial 
streams it is widely distributed during the greater part of 
the year. Sportsmen, however, who care for something 
more than big bags and wholesale slaughter will find Sikhim 
not wanting in interest. It is possible in the higher ranges 
to get a fair amount of shooting, though even after long 
days' tramps the experience of the too eager Nimrod may 
often be that of the "Three Jolly Huntsmen " in the celebrated 
legend of the nursery. Still, several men, travelling in the 
upper ranges, amid scenery not to be surpassed, have brought 
back a goodly number of very fine horns and skins of stags, 
musk deer, wild sheep and goats, a snow-leopard or Ounce, 
silver fox, and even an occasional Ovis ammon, not to speak 
of the gorgeous Monal pheasants (Bhotiya " Cham-dong"), 


blood pheasants, snow-cocks ( Tctragalhis Tibetanus), ptarmi- 
gan, sand-grouse, woodcock, snow-pigeons, etc., that they 
get by the way. And on the Tibetan side of the range, 
game from all accounts is very plentiful. 

As on this occasion we ourselves did not leave the path, in 
passing over Tendong, we bagged only green wood-pigeons 
and some small birds and animals for my collection, including 
the bright scarlet and blue fairy-chats [Niltava grandis) and 
brilliant sun-birds like lustrous gems, and a new species 
of Laughing Thrush [Gar. Waddelli). *° Gorgeous butterflies 
abound here, more than four thousand species are found 
in Sikhim alone, and some of these are so beautiful and 
rare that collectors pay almost fancy prices for them. One 
of the swallow-tailed is said to be worth about £20 for 
a good female specimen. Especially numerous was a species 
(Kallima inaches) which conceals itself by imitating the 
dead leaves amongst which it lives. The under surface 
of its wings is marked and coloured exactly like a dead 
leaf, and it settles on a twig, with closed wings, in an atti- 
tude that completely supports this illusion, as noted by 
Wallace in regard to the butterflies of Sumatra. " So 
marvellously close is this imitation of the dead leaf carried 
out, that even the spots of fungus which grow upon these 
decaying leaves are faithfully reproduced, and thus enables 
these little creatures to escape their sharp-eyed enemies, 
and survive in the struggle for existence. 

The change in the foliage was noticeable as we ascended 
from the evergreen forests below to the variegated autumn 


tints of the maples, etc., of the temperate zone. Further 
up, beyond the rude shelter of bamboo [Ba-kyini) in the 
forest, a path leads to the top of the mountain, where is 
said to be a lonely cell to which a Lama comes every year 
to offer prayers to Mount Tendong, to safeguard the country 
from another deluge ; for the Lamas have accepted that old 
legend of the aboriginal Lepchas. 

Where the path crossed the crest of the spurs there was 
usually a cairn of stones, or a rude stone altar, sacred to 
the spirit of the mountain. At these spots our men laid 
down their loads, and tearing a few strips of rag from their 
dress, tied them to a twig or a stone, which they planted 
on the cairn, as an offering to the mountain spirit, and 
called with a loud shrill voice : Ki-ki so-so la-so-la! Lha-gyal-ol 
Diid-pam-bo ! (Pray accept our offering ! The spirits are 
victorious 1 The devils are defeated 1) 

In passing these spots, travellers invariably keep them 
on their right side in token of respect. This is an old- 
world custom which still survives in the West, where it is 
considered the "lucky-way". Thus, it is practised in stirring 
the Christmas puddings etc., in passing wine at table, from 
right to left ; in cattle treading the corn in this direction ; 
and among the Scotch Highlanders, in walking thrice in 
this way around those to whom they wish well, "to make the 
deazeV\ as it is called. And the offering of the rag recalls 
the Western custom of offering a stone to the lonely cairn of 
an ill-fated traveller, who has died among the mountains. 

Leaving to our left the dreary path through a wilderness 


of bamboos, leading to the old monastery of Tashi-ding and 
Pemiong-chi and Sanga-cheling — visits to which I have already 
described in my " Buddhism of Tibet " — we struck down steep 
zigzags to Temi. And here our alpenstocks came in useful, 
as the clayey soil was very slippery from recent rain. 

The first patches of cultivation appear in the forest at about 
6,000 feet. Above this height little tillage is done on account 
of the cold clouds, and the destructive hailstones which demolish 
the crops, literally bombarding the cereals by their violent down- 
fall. I have seen hailstones hereabouts as large as a walnut. 

The primitive kind of agriculture which is practised here 
is the same which is common among the wilder Indo-Chinese 
tribes, and in the earlier clearings which I have seen in 
the back-wood settlements of America. A few acres of the 
virgin forest are burned down, and the rich black loam, 
enriched by the wood-ashes, between the charred stumps 
of the trees is scratched or scraped on the surface and 
yields abundant crops for about two years, after which 
period, being somewhat exhausted, it is abandoned and a 
fresh strip of forest is burned down, which after a year or 
two is in turn abandoned for a new one ; and so on, until 
after ten or twenty years the first patch, which has lain so 
long fallow, has again become a jungle, and it is brought 
again under this "jhooming" process, as it is called. The 
great destruction of forest which this practice entails, is 
perhaps excusable in such a sparsely populated region 
where hundreds of miles of forest timber simply falls and rots 
through the impossibility of transporting it to a paying market. 


As we descended, these patches of "jhoomed" fields 
fringed by forest belts, got more numerous, and we soon 
emerged on the bare hill-side of Temi (4,771 ft). Here the 
son of the chief of this district offered us his house for the 
night, but we preferred our tents. The 2ones of cultivation 
here on the flanks of Tendong and other parts of central 
Sikhim, as well as Darjeeling, have undergone great altera- 
tion since Hooker's visit. Much of the forest has disap- 
peared owing to the increase of the population. The view 
up the Teesta valley was very fine with its interlacing moun- 
tain ridges leading up to snows ; in the foreground were 
the dark frowning cliffs of Mainom, while to the right were 
the snows of the Chola pass. 

Our next two days' march up the semi-tropical valley 
of the Teesta to the cane-bridge by which we had to cross 
that river, was very hot and rather uninteresting. The steep 
descent of over 3,000 feet to the gorge of the thundering 
river was no easy matter after the heavy rain of the night, 
as the track zig-zagged down over slippery clay and still 
more slippery mica-schist and chlorite slate ; and over 
boiling and dashing torrents that we had to cross by 
slimy logs and saplings that were thrown across them. In 
the deep gorge, so intense was the heat, that one of us 
could not resist a plunge into the cool pool of the Rangpo 
rivulet, despite the risk from the blazing sun overhead. 
Across one of these bridges some fishermen had made a 
weir of bamboo, so designed that the fish in descending 
the rapids, are driven into this basket and captured. We 


tasted some of the fish, but found them very bony and 


rather insipid. The men cooked them by baking them for 
a few minutes in the camp-fire, inside a joint of the ubiqui- 


tous bamboo. Our little-used track led through such luxuriant 
forest that one of our men had to go in front to clear the 
way, like a sapper, cutting down projecting branches and 
rope-like vines that barred our path. The characteristic 
vegetation here was figs and nettles ; and we were especially 
warned by our men against the so-called "deadly" nettle, 
whose great smooth glossy leaves look so innocent of the 
deadly venom which lurks beneath. The wild Mango was 
also common, and its fruit though small was pleasant to 
the taste. Amongst the birds, wood-peckers were especially 
numerous, owing to the large quantity of dead and dying 
timber. I got no fewer than eighteen distinct species of 
these ; shewing the immense range and variety of the 
climate hereabout. The head-man of the village of "Fat 
Earth" (Nam-fak) where we encamped, brought us the usual 
poor presents of stale milk, rancid butter, a few oranges 
and bananas. He belongs to the tribe which the Nepalese 
call Limboo, and the Tibetans "Ts'ong-pa," (or merchants,) 
as they were and are still the chief cattle-merchants and 
butchers in Sikhim, where cattle used to be the chief import 
from the plains. But the people call themselves Yak-tamba 
(Yak-herds?) or "Ek-tambo". They have flatter faces, and 
are much more markedly Mongolian in feature than the 
Lepchas ; though they have adopted the dress and externals 
of Hindooism, like most of the other Nepalese tribes. 

They seem to have shared with the Lepchas the western 
half of Sikhim, before the advent of the Tibetans and other 
Nepalese tribes. At present they extend westwards into 


Nepal as far as the Arun river, which pierces the Central 
Himalayas, and by which possibly they have descended 
from the plateau of Central Asia (see map in Chap. IX). The 
divisions of the tribe, are alleged by Mr. Risley, to be denoted 


by nicknames. This would be curious if true ; but it is 
merely the result of an attempt to find the meaning of the 
Limboo names in an alien language, like attempting the 
etymology of Gaelic words by means of Greek, and the 
results are so absurd as to seem nicknames. Mr. Risley, 
however, has otherwise advanced Indian ethnology by the 


methods he has advocated, and it is to be hoped that on 
this subject he will continue to raise his voice. 

Achoom tells me that these Limboos are proverbially 
stingy and inhospitable, even the Lepcha half-breeds of the 
tribe, such as the Yangmo, according to the Lepcha saying: 
" Though a Yangmo's door is open wide, there's nothing 
to eat, though plenty inside". In Nepal they intermarry 
to some extent with the semi aboriginal Kiranti tribe. 

Our pioneer brought us the disconcerting news that the 
cane-bridge over the Teesta, by which we must cross, was 
unsafe without extensive repairs ; so we despatched some 
men to repair it. A drizzling rain prevented our going up 
the hill to the Yangong monastery, which boasts a finely 
carved door. Its head Lama is one of the explorers of 
Tibet, Ugyen Gyatsho, the "U. G." of the Indian Survey 
Reports. Here are some caves said to be several miles 
long, and believed to connect the sacred mountains Tendong 
and Mainom, all infested of course by devils. 

Higher up the ridge is the large stone carved with the 
mystic Om mani, which Hooker figures. The following day 
in the series of tiresome ascents and descents over spurs, 
a ridge which we crossed was pointed out to us as the 
scene of a pitched battle between the Nepalese invaders 
and the Sikhimese Bhotiyas in 1787 A.D., when the former 
were forced to retire. It is called Neh (about 2,500 ft.), 
and it occupies a fairly strong defensive position on a spur 
of Mainom. 

We all suffered badly from the bites of the pipsee flies 


that swarmed here, and worried us almost beyond endur- 
ance. This insect, in appearance like a diminutive house-fly, 
draws blood at once; and in so doing it poisons the wound, 
so that the blood continues to ooze from the puncture and 
also exudes underneath the skin, forming bluish patches 
which often end in ulcers. We cleared our tents of them 
for a time by fumigation with brown paper etc., but our 
coolies in the open suffered severely. The land-leeches 
were also troublesome ; and several loathsome blood-sucking 
ticks (Ixodes) made us almost regret that we had not gone 
by the much longer* road (via Kalimpong) to escape all 
these pests. A leopard, tiger-cat, civet, and red cat-bear 
or "white face" (Dong-kar) of the Bhotiyas, were shot by 
my collector here ; and the flesh of all these animals was 
eaten by the Lepchas, and indeed esteemed a delicacy. 

We could not but admire the very evident usefulness to 
these animals of their specific colours. How admirably 
their markings conceal these beasts, each in its special sur- 
roundings, so that they can approach their prey unawares, 
as well as escape from their own natural enemies. The 
spotted markings of the leopard render it practically invisible 
amongst the spotty shades of the tree-foliage where it lives ; 
just as the yellow and black stripes of the tiger assimilate 
this animal to the withered yellow stems of grassy reeds 
with their dark shadows in the places that it haunts. So too, 
the broad markings of the cat-bear and the faggoty pattern 
of the civet are admirably suited to conceal their owners 
in the dusky trunks and branches among which they live. 


Early in the morning, we descended the gloomy gorge 
of the roaring river, amid rank decaying vegetation which 
suggested deadly malaria. As we reached the bridge, our 
men sent up a loud shout, calling on the malignant water- 
spirit to let us cross in safety. And, certainly, it looked 
as if special prayers for our safety were really required, 
for the bridge, dangerous at all times, was a mere ragged 
skeleton of itself, and slippery with green slime. 

Spanning the yawning chasm about 300 feet wide, in 
whose depths the mighty river thundered along, sixty or 
eighty feet beneath us, in leaping waves, dashing over great 
boulders of gneiss the size of cottages, and scattering clouds 
of spray, and hurling uprooted trees like matchwood, this 
frail rickety structure seemed by aspect and surroundings 
to suggest the horrors ascribed by the ancients to the 
knife-edge bridge over the Styx. And we had to cross it 
somewhat after the manner of Blondin on the slack rope. 
Here, however, we had the doubtful advantage of a loosely 
knotted rope of strips of rotten cane to clutch hold of. 
For the bridge is formed by two suspended ropes of cane 
thrown across the gorge, and their ends are lashed to 
rocks and trunks of trees in the neighbourhood ; and 
between these two parallel ropes, and tied from the one 
rope to the other at intervals of a yard or so, are sus- 
pended bits of cane forming V-shaped slings ; and in the 
narrow angle of these V-slings is laid a line of bamboos, 
end to end, on which you have to find your footing. 
It is thus like walking on a rope, for between the slings 


it is all open on either side, and as you cross you swing 
in mid-air, as seen in the frontispiece. 

I had already crossed several of these primitive bridges 
in Sikhim, as well as the rope-bridges (jhola) in the Northern 
Himalayas, but none were ever so alarmingly rickety- 
looking as this. On climbing up on to it, it proved on 
examination to be not only frail but rotten! And we now 
found that the men who had been sent two days before 
to repair it, had declined the hazardous task and had 
decamped without touching it. These bridges last only 
about two seasons, and this one was already several years 
old and had not been repaired at all. But we must cross 
this river anyhow, as a night's detention in this gorge meant 
fever in a fatal form. 

I sent one of my Lepchas, who was accustomed to these 
bridges, to examine it, and he managed to go over it, and 
returned to say that he thought it was crossable. Sending 
him across again, I prepared to follow, having first taken 
off my boots, as the bamboos on which I had to walk 
were so slippery. But I had not gone many yards ere 
I found that there was only a single line of bamboos for 
foothold, and that these single bamboos were neither lashed 
end to end nor tied to the V-slings, and that many of 
these V-slings were untied or wanting altogether. I there- 
fore retraced my steps, and sent the Lepcha to tie it up 
a bit. 

I then mounted the bridge again, and I almost shudder, 
even now, to think of that awful passage. Had I known 


what was in store for me I should never have attempted it. 
The instant that you step on to these bridges they recoil 
from you, and swing and shake in an alarming way, rolling 
from side to side and pitching with every step you take, 
like a ship in a storm. They swerve with a sudden 
jerk, every time you lift your foot ; not only sideways and 
longways, but also downwards and forwards, as your weight 
depresses the bridge, until you pass the middle, when the 
oscillating structure kicks up after you, as you ascend. So, 
seizing the two suspension cables, one in either hand, for 
a railing, you have to work your way across this jerky 
swinging, shaking, writhing thing. I got along a short way 
without much difficulty, so long as I could look to see the 
bamboo rod on which I had to walk, although the open 
sides heightened the sense of insecurity. But on clearing 
the bank, the instant you look down to see where to place 
your feet, the rush of leaping water in the deeply sunk 
torrent underneath you, gives you the giddy sensation that 
both you and the bridge are running swiftly upstream. 
Yet, without looking down, how is it possible to see the 
single bamboo overhanging the abyss and on which 
you must find your shaky footing, and to miss which 
means certain death ? Hitherto the line of bamboos had been 
tied end to end, but now, as I stepped on to the next 
one, it tilted up; and I could see that most of those in 
front were also lying loose and disjointed in their widely 
separate V-slings, and some also of these slings were 
loosened and others wanting ; they had been loosened and 


broken away by the passing of the person who preceded me. 
But it was now too late to turn back, as I could not swing 
round ; so, I went forward with long strides to get a foothold 
on this shaking, swinging line of slimy bamboos which 
writhed and twisted like a broken-backed serpent. I had 
to take darting, furtive peeps at the slippery, creaking bam- 
boo, and after each step I had to half close my eyes for 
an instant to counteract the giddy feeling of the upward 
rush of the bridge. Ah, it was a creepy, ghastly feeling! 
One false step meant instant death in the raging gulf below. 
Still there was a fascination in it all, suspended at that 
giddy height over the rushing, swirling waters far beneath, 
the unceasing deafening roar, the bold rocky banks, and 
the rainbow tints of the clouds of spray rising from the 
boiling abyss below. At last, after what seemed an age, 
the other bank was reached and the danger, so far as I per- 
sonally was concerned was past. But the others had to 
be provided for. 

Once across, I shouted to Kintoop, who had arrived by 
this time, to tie up the loose parts along the whole length 
of the bridge, before the laden coolies attempted to cross, 
And it was marvellous to watch the operations of him and his 
assistants. They darted into the jungle with their knives, 
and cut the stringy bark of a giant climber into convenient 
lengths, and taking a bundle of these strips between their 
teeth, they scrambled pluckily along the ropes, clinging 
with their toes, like monkeys; and they deftly tied up several 
of the loosest parts, using only their prehensile toes in 


this operation, in places where they needed to hold on 
with both hands. Such flexibility in their toes have they 
acquired in climbing trees and otherwise, that they use 
them dextrously for gripping things ; and their great toe 
acts almost like a thumb. 

Even when these repairs were done, it was found that 
the great majority of the coolies, all of whom were natives 
of these hills, were afraid to cross it, even when relieved 
of their loads. Their loads, therefore, had to be broken up 
into small parcels, which the more steady men tied up in 
their Lepcha plaids and slung on to their backs, leaving 
both hands free; and in this way, by dint of crossing and 
re-crossing some scores of times, our baggage was finally 
got across. As for the terror-stricken coolies, it was pathetic 
to watch them struggling over the bridge, even after it 
had been repaired and they had been relieved of their loads. 
The thrilling horror and despair pictured in their faces as 
they crawled along was truly pitiful to see. At a critical 
moment more than one squatted down in the middle of the 
bridge, half-paralysed with fear, unable to go either forwards 
or backwards till someone stole to their aid ; and two of 
these we thought must certainly have been lost before 
assistance reached them. Not a few refused to cross on 
any account, and bolted off. And all of us who crossed, 
vowed that we would rather go a month's journey round 
about than cross such a terrible bridge again. 

We studied the mechanism of the bridge, while our 
baggage was crossing. w Its great height above the water 


is to provide against the rise of the flood waters. It is 
situated at a relatively narrow part of the river, where the 
latter rushes in leaping waves between the cliffs through 
which it has cut its way ; and these cliffs of bare rock and 
huge boulders form the natural piers and bastions of the 
bridge. From these piers, two ropes or cables are thrown 
across the gorge and their ends lashed to these rocks, and 
to the trunks of trees, and pegged into the ground ; and 
the stays and slings at either end form a network like 
the rigging of a ship. These two parallel cables which sup- 
port the bridge, each consist of three or four plaited canes 
of the rattan palm {Calamus rotang), about 400 feet long. 
As these had become rotten they had been strengthened by 
a chain of bits of bamboo bark loosely knotted together. 
From these cables hang the V-shaped slings of split cane, 
about three feet apart, and each about two and a half 
feet deep. Into these hanging slings are laid the bamboos 
which form the platform or footway. There originally 
had been, we were told, three or four bamboos dovetailed 
side by side and securely lashed and spliced to their 
adjoining bundles of bamboos so as to form a continuous 
chain, but the bundles had got loosened and the extra 
bamboos had all fallen out long before our arrival. An 
ingenious device of outriggers prevents the bridge from 
closing up and choking the passenger. At intervals of every 
ten feet or so, a rod of bamboo is passed transversely 
under the platform, and from its extremities pass ropes of 
cane and bark that are tied to the two cables, which are 


thus kept apart. These bridges are called Jalang by the 
Nepalese, and by the Bhotiyas Scunpa; and the site of 
the Sam-pa is Sain-dong, or the " bridge face." The Bhotiya 
name for this Teesta river is Sang-choo, or "The Pure 
Water", so-called because great rivers tend to purify them- 
selves from contamination. While the temperature of the air 
at noon was 73 Fahrenheit, the water was only 6o° Fah., 
owing to its having come directly from the snows. The 
fall of this river as measured by Hooker, not far off, was 
found to be 821 feet in 10 miles, and its current in places 
ran at the rate of 14 miles an hour. 

Glad were we to get away from this fluvial horror, and 
emerge from the stifling gorge up on to a cool flat, where 
we encamped at the cairn or Mendong of Tyun-tang, 
amongst wild citrons. And here a refreshing cup of tea and 
the hot lunch that Achoom had awaiting us made us forget 
our troubles and fatigues of the day. 

Next morning we were off early along the bold and 
cliffy upper valley of the Teesta, over the slopes of Silling, 
with fine and ever changing views of the Kanchen-junga 
snows, and crossing the Ryot river, reached Toomlong, " On 
Man's Breast", the mountain capital of the King of Sikhim, 
before nightfall. But oh, the hateful leeches and the climb I 

The damp forest through which we passed swarmed 
with legions of voracious land-leeches. No thicker than 
a knitting-needle when they are fasting, they stood alert 
on every twig of the brushwood that overhung our track, 
and on every dead leaf on the path. And as we approach- 



ed they lashed themselves vigorously to and fro, in the 
wild endeavour to seize hold of us. The instant they 
touch their victim, they fix themselves firmly and then 
mount nimbly up by a series of rapid somersaults till they 
reach a vulnerable point ; and then they lose not an instant 
in commencing their surgical operations. Our poor serv- 
ants and coolies who walked bare-footed were of course 
badly bitten. From their ankles and legs little streams of 
blood trickled all day, and at every few steps thsy had to 
stop and pick off these horrid little pests, and it was often 
difficult to dislodge them. We had dusted our stockings 
with tobacco-snuff, and had not felt the usual sharp nip ; 
and our legs were well encased in putties or thick wool- 
len bandages, which are wound round the leg from the 
ankle to the knee, over the boots and stockings, and give 
grateful support to the leg and more freedom to the calf 
muscles than leggings. We had each picked off thousands 
of leeches during the day, from outside our boots and 
putties, and were congratulating ourselves on having escaped, 
but on taking off these articles to cross the small substantial 
cane-bridge over the Dik-chu river, after having walked 
about sixteen miles through forest, we found that a large 
number of leeches had sucked their fill of us. They had 
insinuated themselves through the eyelets of our boots, and 
between the folds of our patties, and thence through the 
meshes of our stockings. And, after gorging themselves 
to repletion with our blood, some had withdrawn themselves 
and were lying under the putties, their thread-like bodies 



swollen with our blood, to the size of small chestnuts; 
while others had crept down into our boots, and had 
there got squashed, bathing our feet in gore; and all this 
had happened quite unconsciously to us. Washing our 
wounds only made them bleed the more profusely. B. was 
less bitten than I was, probably owing to his blood being 
so saturated with nicotine, as he smokes all day long. It 
was pitiful also to see the poor cattle, ponies and goats 
in these leech-infested forests. Their legs were always 
bleeding more or less, and these pests lodge in their nostrils 
and hang from their eyelids and various parts of their body. 
To dislodge them from the recesses of the nose, the herds- 
men, it is said, keep the poor beasts from water for a day 
or so and then, when the animal drinks, the leeches show 
themselves, and may be removed. All the Lepchas have 
their legs covered with the scars of these leech-bites; and 
the actual loss of blood in this way must be very great. 
I have no doubt that these pests have something to do 
with the remarkable absence of four-footed game in these 
regions. They range in these damp forests from about 
4,000 to 10,000 feet elevation. The Bhotiya name for the 
leech is " The Blood-drinker" [tak-toong). The normal food, 
however, of these myriad leeches, like that of those other 
blood-suckers, the mosquitos, is vegetable juice ; and not 
one out of many millions of them can ever possibly taste 

This river, the Dik-chu or Ryot, is a snow-fed stream 
which descends tumultuously, about 10,000 feet in a course of 


about twelve miles. Its Bhotiya name means "The Stagger- 
ing or Reeling Water"; whilst its Lepcha name of Ryot- 
oong means "The Rapid Reckless Water" or "The Bris- 
tling Restless Water " — all of which names well describe 
the furious character of this torrent. 

The leeches and the pelting rain, all day long, had so 
delayed us and disorganized our men, that, although it was 
now about 3 p.m., we had not yet had breakfast, only the 
morning tea and toast. We were now ravenous ; but there 
was little chance of our getting anything till we reached 
the Rajah's residence on the hill, about 3,000 feet above 
us ; for we found that Achoom and the lunch-basket had 
gone on ahead. So after climbing over some boulders on 
the river bank to wash again our bleeding leech-bites, we 
began the steep climb up the short cut to Toomlong. Short 
cuts are proverbially tedious, and this track went right up 
the rocky face of the gorge, rising about 3,000 feet in two 
miles. It would be a trying climb at any time; but coming 
at the end of a long fast and a fatiguing day's march, it 
taxed our strength severely. We had frequently to pull 
ourselves up over rocks by clutching hold of creepers. The 
ascent seemed endless. When I had climbed about 2,000 
feet I sat down dead-beat, while B., puffing away at his invi- 
gorating pipe, pushed on slowly ahead. It was now getting 
dusk, the sun had dipped behind a peak, and the forest 
showed no sign of any habitation near, and not even water 
to quench our thirst, except the drizzling mist, as I was on 
a ridge ; when suddenly a good angel appeared in the person 


of a smiling young Lama, carrying a jug of Murwa beer, 
which he presented to me. Refreshed by this reviving 
beverage, I resumed the ascent, accompanied by the young 
monk, who acted as my guide. He told me that the news of 
our approach had reached the monastery of Phodang, which 
was only about a mile higher up, and that the good Lamas 
had immediately sent him to us with the welcome Murwa. 
Wet and weary, we reached the monastery (5,290 ft.) just 
as the darkness was closing in, and here the hospitable 
Lamas installed us in a cloister as our tents were not up, 
provided us a blazing fire in the middle of the room to dry 
our clothes, and a lamp, and assisted Achoom in spreading 
our rugs on the floor round the fire, and soon Rameses 
brought in an ample meal which completed our material 



And leaving Sikhinvs halls, the four 

O'er Man's hill, by Ringon's rill, 
'Neath stately Narim's summit hoar, 

By Namga's shades and Chakoong's glades, 
And rapid Teesta's rocky shore 

Travelled till they the torrent crossed. 

C. Macaulay's Lay of Lachen. 

I WAS rudely awakened next morning, at daybreak, 
by a deafening din of trumpets and drums outside our 
cloister; and on looking out of the unglazed window of 
our cell, I found the noise proceeded from a band of Lama- 
monks who were parading round the outside of the temple, 
blowing discordant horns, fifes and shell-trumpets, beating 
drums and clashing cymbals, and they wound up their 
noisy orisons with a still more ear-piercing blast at the 
front door of the temple. One pair of the trumpets was so 
immensely long — over six feet — that a young novice had 
to march in front to support their ends. 


Our cloister in the daylight looked a severely empty 
room, innocent as it was of any furniture. Its walls were 
frescoed with the smoke of many years; and we were not 
the only inmates. Several bats hung solemnly in black 
festoons from the beams ; and during the night many fleas 
had crept out from nooks and crannies and were much in 
evidence. Some Keating's insect powder, which I had 
provided for such emergencies, had not yet arrived, as still 
about a dozen of our coolies had not yet turned up. These 
men did not arrive till late in the forenoon. 

We therefore halted here for the day, to let our men 
recuperate, and also to weed out the weakliest, and leave 
here all unnecessary baggage, such as the extra tent, and 
such luxuries as camp-tables and chairs. For from this point 
we go almost right up into rugged Alpine country where 
every unnecessary mouth to feed, and every extra ounce of 
baggage, is a drawback. We also wished to visit the King 
of Sikhim, whose head-quarters are here. We were told, 
however, that the King had just gone to the residence of 
our new political agent at Gantok, and had taken with 
him the abbot of this monastery, but the prime minister 
sent us an invitation to visit the palace in the afternoon. 

The abbot of this monastery, which is called Phodang, 
or "The Chapel-Royal", is one of the most important 
persons in the state. He has all along been well disposed 
towards Europeans, and now, since the country has passed 
more under our control, and as he is something of a patriot, 
he has been made one of the chief ministers and the de 


facto primate of the Lamaist Church in Sikhim. This kindly 
old man is a friar rather than a monk, frequenting the busy 
haunts of men, and may often be seen at Darjeeling. He 
has imbued his subordinates with much of his own kindly 
spirit. The young Lama who was acting for him during 
his absence, and who is his nephew, and son of the prime 
minister, is an intelligent well-mannered youth ; and as he 
had looked so well after us and our coolies B. gave him 
some bits of jewellery, and I gave him some tins of fancy 
biscuits, a bottle of liqueur and a Japanese teapot, all 
of which things he carried off in high glee. 

The situation of this monastery overlooking the Dik-chu 
Valley is fine. It commands views up the valley to the 
snows of the Chola, or "The Lake Pass" (14,925 ft.), so 
called, it is said, from its chain of lakelets. Below these snows 
that rise above us only thirteen miles off, stretch the grassy 
and pine-clad slopes of Chomnaga (12,500 ft.), surmounting 
the rocky heights of Fyoom-gang, or " The Reedy Bamboo 
Ridge," whilst in the foreground, amongst the cottages that 
dot the fields of rice and maize, is the small monastery of 
Labrang, or " The Bishop's Palace," where resides the 
nominal head of the Church of Sikhim, and one of the 
so-called "living Buddhas " or re-incarnated Lamas, who no 
sooner die than they are supposed to be reborn again as 
the head Lama of the same monastery. The saintly reputa- 
tion of this particular one, however, has worn a little 
threadbare through his too frequent potations of something 
stronger than the local murwa beer. And not far off is a 


small convent with three nuns, the chief of whom is a sister 
of "Tcheeboo" Lama, the friend of Hooker. 

After breakfast we sauntered about the monastery, watching 
the routine of the monks, and the peasantry bringing their 
offerings to the priests, whilst our jaded coolies were preening 
their draggled features and dressing their leech-bites. One 
of the best applications to these bites, to prevent the 
inflammation and ulceration so apt to ensue, was, I found, 
the ordinary Friars' Balsam, which I had brought for that 
serious trouble to travellers, blistered feet, for which it is 
a sovereign remedy. 

In the afternoon we availed ourselves of the invitation 
to visit the palace at Toomlong. We were escorted by 
some Lamas, Kintoop and several others of our henchmen. 
There was nothing, however, to show that this was the 
capital of Sikhim. There is no town, scarcely even a 
village, except for the huts that dot the hill-side at wide 
intervals; and the "palace" was most disappointing after 
the grand accounts of it given by Colman Macaulay and 
some other officials. But then we were only ordinary 
travellers, for whom things were not put en rose; and person- 
ally we prefer to see things as they really are in every- 
day life. 

The " palace ", which crowns a knoll, is a barn-like building 
of the usual Sikhim style, with a great thatched roof 
projecting in mushroom-head fashion, and tied down at 
the corners to prevent it being blown off. Its roof is sur- 
mounted by a small gilt turret, like a factory belfry, but 


of Chinese pattern, which gleams from afar in the sunlight. 
The whole place has a mean look; and there is nothing 
to suggest that it is the residence of the king, except perhaps 
the two or three scare-crow sentries who hang about the 
gate-way in the low wall that surrounds the building. They 
are clad in Lepcha garb and armed with antiquated match- 

Crossing the small garden, prolific in wormwood weeds, 
and passing through the squalid courtyard, we were con- 
ducted by a round-about way to the main door. For this 
house, as the residence of a "priest-king," is sacred, and 
must be approached like a holy temple, in the respectful 
direction; that is to say with the right hand to the wall. 
The chief door by which we entered was of roughly hewn 
timber, loopholed for musketry. It opened into a dark 
narrow passage, whence we were ushered up a dark ladder- 
like stair, and thence, groping our way, we stumbled 
into what has been grandiloquently called "The Audience 
Room", where the Sikhim Rajah held his court. It had 
a mean look, a low ceiling, and was floored with planks 
rough hewn in Robinson Crusoe fashion, and it was without 
any of the refinements of civilization. Here an old man 
with grizzled hair, shrewd features, and dressed like the 
ordinary Bhotiyas, in a not over-clean suit, came forward 
and bid us welcome with a shake of the hand. He was 
the Prime Minister or Kang-sa Deivan. Speaking in Hindu- 
stanee, as neither of us at that time were fluent with 
Tibetan, which is the court language of Sikhim, he invited 


us to be seated on chairs ; and he himself sat down cross- 
legged on a cushion upon the slightly raised dais of the 
Rajah, and plied his prayer-wheel ; whilst our men seated 
themselves demurely on the floor, behind us, with their hats 
in their hands. Slaves passed round Tibetan tea, a broth- 
like mess of boiled Chinese brick-tea, butter and flour. We, 
as guests, were first served with it in small Chinese 
bowls, but our men, as became their inferior rank, had to 
produce their own wooden cups, which every Bhotiya car- 
ries in his breast-pocket. This tea was followed by some 
murwa beer, which was about the worst I ever tasted. It 
was sour as vinegar. I conscientiously, however, sipped a 
little for politeness' sake, though not without alarm as to 
the consequences. After our host had made the customary 
civil enquiries about our health, and as to whether we had 
suffered any annoyance through the neglect of any of his 
people since we entered Sikhim, he questioned us closely 
as to why we had come and where we wished to go. But 
we gave him no very precise information on these points, 
as we did not wish him to be able to hinder our move- 
ments, as his predecessors had done Hooker's; or report 
our intended route to the Tibetans, with whom many of 
these officials are still covertly in league. 

He told us that if we proposed going up the Lachen 
Valley, (and this we wished to do) it was not yet open, 
owing to several bridges having been swept away : this in- 
formation proved to be true. He was anxious to know 
what the English Government intended to do with the 


King, since our expulsion of his allies the Tibetans from the 
country ; and he apologized for the non-appearance of the 
Rajah's sister, she of the story of the basket of eggs. I asked 
him about the etymology of some of the names of places ; 
as to why certain mountains, rivers and places had received 
their particular names, for I had found that nearly all such 
names in this country are remarkably descriptive of their 
physical peculiarities. But his reply was of the usual 
convincing kind: "They are called so and so because 
that is their name;" so I had to fall back on my chief 
sources of information on this subject, the fountain-head 
itself, namely, the traditions of the aborigines of the local- 
ities in question. When we got up to go he rose and 
wished us a pleasant journey. We then groped our way 
down the creaky stair, through the dark corridor ; and were 
glad again to get into the open air, out of this dreary 
building where the King of Sikhim has his home. We had 
no idea that he was so miserably poor. In such dismal 
surroundings and hedged in by his priests, it is indeed a 
wonder that he has not turned out more helpless than 
he is. 

The King, or as his people call him Gyal-po, which is 
the Tibetan word for "king", is a Tibetan by descent and 
sympathies. The first of his dynasty, 2S which began about 
250 years ago, was a pure Tibetan, and he himself, the 
ninth of the line, is largely of the same blood, as nearly 
all his predecessors married, like himself, a Tibetan wife. 
He was born in i860, and bears the grand name of "The 



Almighty Necromancer" ( Too' -top-nam-gyel). His appearance 
is well shown in the accompanying photograph, which is, 
I believe, the only photograph which has ever been taken 


of him, owing to his extreme sensitiveness to the disfigure- 
ment caused by his hare-lip. 

His wife, the queen, is a Tibetan, the daughter of a 
personal servant of the Grand Lama of Lhasa, and is named 
Ten-zam-drama. As seen in the picture, her headdress is a 
marvellous arrangement, a hillock of pearls, turquoises, coral 


and other precious stones. Personally, she is bright and 
prepossessing, and rather inquisitive. Some of the questions 
she asked a friend of mine at his visit, through an interpreter 
of course, were very personal, such as — "How old are 
you?" "Are you married?" "Why are you not married?" 
She has been credited with intriguing in political matters 
and causing some of our recent troubles with Tibet. 

Her husband, however, like most of his predecessors in 
the kingship, is a mere puppet in the hands of his crafty 
priests, who have made a sort of priest-king of him. 
They encourage him by every means in their power to 
leave the government to them, whilst he devotes all his 
time to the degrading rites of devil-worship, and the ceaseless 
muttering of meaningless jargon, of which the Tibetan form 
of Buddhism chiefly consists. They declare that he is a 
saint by birth, that he is the direct descendant of the 
greatest king of Tibet, the canonized Srong-tsan Gampo, 
who was a contemporary of Mahomed in the seventh 
century A.D. and who first introduced Buddhism to Tibet. 
They say that a great grandson of that saintly king settled 
in Kham, in eastern Tibet, and was the ancestor of the 
kings of Sikhim, who are hence calkd Kham-ba, or "natives 
of Kham ", a title which has misled Mr. Risley and other 
writers into stating that "Kham-ba" is the kingly section 
of the Lepcha tribe, whereas it is a purely Tibetan dis- 
tinction and has nothing whatever to do with the Lepcha 

This saintly lineage which secures for the king's person 


popular homage amounting to worship, is probably, however, 
a mere invention of the priests to glorify their puppet prince 
for their own sordid ends. Such devices are common in 
the East. Not to mention the Mikado who, in the old 
order of things, claimed divine descent from the sun-goddess, 
Theebaw the ex-king of Burma was a priest-king, who 
claimed to be descended from the most famous king the 
Burmese ever heard of, to wit, a somewhat mythical king 
of Buddha's day and of Buddha's own Sakya tribe. And 
many of the modern Rajahs of India boast of even higher 
descent — from God himself! I have seen several examples 
of this process taking place at the present day among the 
aboriginal tribes of Central India. Certain of these non- 
Aryan headmen set themselves up as Hindoos, and calling 
themselves Rajputs, or members of the kingly caste, they 
pay unscrupulous Hindoo priests to invent for them an 
orthodox though mythical pedigree. 

Without entering much into the government or mis- 
government of this country, there are a few points in its 
history that are interesting, as illustrating the principles on 
which the enormous British Empire has been built up. 

In the building up of our Indian Empire, our policy has 
long been to secure along our frontiers, as buffers between 
these and the neighbouring empires, a fringe of thriving 
semi-independent states, self-governing as regards their 
internal affairs, and enjoying an amount of freedom that 
would make them a useful force in case of invasion, but 
under our suzerainty — as we guarantee their autonomy — 


and open to our trade. For trade, after all, is the key- 
stone of our policy, and not land-hunger or territorial ex- 
pansion. "The greatest of all political interests," says Mr. 
Chamberlain, " is commerce, as our nation cannot exist 
without trade." Annexation of neighbouring states, or even 
direct interference in their management, is never thought of 
until oft- repeated aggression and aggravating injury to our 
commerce leaves absolutely no alternative but that the 
country should be brought under a civilized government. 
Our relations with this little Himalayan state arose in 
this way. 

When the warlike tribe of Hindooised Mongoloids, the 
Goorkhas, after conquering Nepal, towards the end of the 
eighteenth century, encroached on India in 1814, they over- 
ran Sikhim and threatened to occupy the whole stretch of 
the Himalayas as far south as Assam. The British, however, 
drove them out of Sikhim in 18 17, restored the late king, 
and adding to his state a considerable tract of the Terai 
or Morang, at the foot of the hills which had been ceded 
to us by Nepal, our government undertook the defence of 
his country, and interposed it as an effectual barrier against 
the expansion southwards of the aggressive Nepalese, whose 
growing power at that time endangered India. Then after 
fourteen years of peace a frontier dispute again broke out 
between Sikhim and the Nepalese, and to settle it the 
British agent, Mr. Grant, was sent. He was so impressed 
with the advantages that Darjeeling offered as a sanitarium 
for our troops, that he induced our Government to negotiate 


for its cession. The Rajah yielded in 1835 the wished-for 
territory, namely Darjeeling, and the strip of hilly land 
connecting it with the plains, in exchange for an annual 
pension of £300, soon raised to £600, which sum much 
exceeded the revenue that he had ever derived from it. 

Whilst the young settlement of Darjeeling was growing 
by leaps and bounds, things went smoothly for several 
years between it and our feudatory king, or rather the 
priests who acted for him. A change came with the acces- 
sion to power of a crafty Tibetan minister who ruled the 
country with a sole eye to his own profit. He was an invete- 
rate slave-dealer, and made money by sending slaves from 
Sikhim, where slavery was prevalent, to Tibet, and he, as 
well as the local chiefs, with this object, raided into our 
territory, and kidnapped British subjects and refused to 
release them; while, on the other hand, he demanded the 
return of all his runaway slaves who had fled to Darjeeling. 
In the hope apparently of extorting his demands he seized 
the Governor of Darjeeling, Dr. Campbell, in 1849, when 
the latter went to try to get matters on a friendly footing, 
and imprisoned him for six weeks at this very place, where 
we now are ; and along with him Dr. Hooker, who was 
then travelling in the country ; and both nearly lost their 
lives here, as is related by Hooker in his Journals. These 
outrages were avenged by the annexation of a further strip 
of Lower Sikhim including all the Terai, the suspension of 
the cash allowance for a few years, and by the banishment 
of the hostile minister. 


The latter, however, continued his intrigues and his evil 
influence over the king from the adjoining Tibetan district 
of Choombi, across the Chola Pass, where in order to escape 
from the heavy rains of Sikhim, the kings usually spent 
their summers. Further kidnapping and plundering led to 
the English occupation of "the palace " here in 1861, 24 when 
a treaty was exacted to secure free trade, the protection 
of travellers, road-making and to facilitate our trade with 
Tibet ; and in return for this concession the king's annual 
allowance was raised to £1,200. 

After this, though no actual conflict occurred, the King 
kept aloof from the friendly overtures made to him by our 
Government, and allowed the treaty in regard to trade and 
roads to remain a dead letter. In 1884 Mr. Colman Mac- 
aulay, one of the few who have realised the considerable 
commercial possibilities of Tibet, finding that the little trade 
there had been between India and that country was languish- 
ing, prevailed on the government of Bengal, of which he 
was secretary, to send him to open communications with 
that jealously isolated land. On this errand he passed 
through Sikhim and met the Tibetan governor of the frontier 
district, secured his good will and obtained a friendly letter 
from the minister of the Grand Lama of Western Tibet. 
Following up this opening, Mr. Macaulay arranged in 1885 
for a commercial mission to Lhasa, and he procured from 
the Chinese a passport to visit that sacred city of their vassal, 
in terms of the Treaty of Tientsin extracted by the Euro- 
pean powers at the occupation of Pekin. But this passport 


proved to be simply a paper concession, like so much of 
the Chinese concessions, and was never intended to be 
used. For it is an open secret that the Chinese, who hold 
most of the Tibetan trade in their own hands, sent immedi- 
ately secret orders to Tibet to obstruct the mission, with 
the result that an armed force of Tibetans opposed it and 
prevented it from crossing the frontier. So jealously did the 
Chinese view this mission that they actually conceded us 
some of their territory on the Burmese side to secure its 
withdrawal, whilst they decorated the King of Sikhim with 
a grand title and a high-class button of rank from Pekin. 

Our abandonment of this mission was regarded by the 
Tibetan Lamas as cowardice. They intrigued more actively 
than ever in Sikhim. They stopped all trade over the passes 
and they induced the King to desert his country and settle 
in Tibet. 

For over two years there was the strange spectacle 
of the King absenting himself from his country, and he 
deliberately refused to return notwithstanding the representa- 
tions made to him by our government that his country 
was going to ruin ; that his impoverished people were being 
sorely harassed by orders issued in his name, extorting 
extravagant sums of money from them ; that they were 
almost in open revolt; and that if he did not return soon 
to right their wrongs, his allowance might be stopped. He, 
however, refused to return and defied our Government; and 
his Tibetan friends, emboldened by our apparent inaction, 
threw an armed rabble of Tibetan troops into Sikhim in 


1887 and blocked our trade-route by building a fortified 
barrier at Lingtoo, below the Jelep pass, well within the 
Sikhim territory. 

This move ended disastrously for the Tibetans. In March 

1888 they were driven out of Sikhim with great loss to 
them, and little to ourselves. Since then, the King, who 
had meanwhile returned, has had a British Resident imposed 
upon him, and the policy of desertion and misrule under 
which his country has so long languished is now over. The 
King has been made to understand that henceforward he 
must discharge his duties to his state and must have no 
more dealings with the Tibetans. A joint Commission 
representing England and China has been appointed to 
define the frontier and facilitate trade with Tibet. Good roads 
are being made, and torrents bridged ; and already, swarms 
of Nepalese are being imported into the country, to reclaim 
its forests and give to it a large settled population of in- 
dustrious peasantry. To guarantee the performance of his 
engagements, and counteract the intrigues of the banished 
minister, his own Tibetan wife, and their Chinese supporters, 
a detachment of our troops has been placed near his resi- 
dence ; and as we take our departure we can see on more 
than one hill across the valley the white tents of our 
pickets, the outposts of our little army, under whose watch 
and ward the country has been for several months. 

Under an enlightened and efficient administration, there 
is not only no reason why Sikhim, so rich in fertile valleys 
and with some mineral wealth as well, should not become 


prosperous and pay its way ; but, on the contrary, there 
is every prospect of the country becoming as rich and 
prosperous as the Darjeeling district. The chief obstacle 
to advance, now that the political power of the priests is 
broken, is the administrative corruption, which in the East 
eats deeply into every department ; and the present Rajah 
certainly does not seem to have displayed much aptitude 
for his trust. 

Much more hopeful is his younger son, who is his 
presumptive heir, as the elder son has been made a 
monk in Tibet. This boy, who is still a mere child, might, 
if suitably educated, become a creditable ruler ; and those 
who have the best interests of the country and its people 
at heart, expect that our Government will see the advisa- 
bility, nay, the necessity, of putting this boy, without delay, 
under proper European instruction, so as to train him up 
to an enlightened sense of his princely duties and respon- 
sibilities towards his people and country. 

Such training, however, to be effectual, must be done 
entirely by a competent European, for it is in the last 
degree undesirable that the boy be made a Bengalee Baboo ; 
and there is much risk of this happening, for even the 
Lama Ugyen Gyatsho has been so influenced by his few 
years' association with Bengalees, that our Sikh orderly 
stoutly maintains that he must be really one of these, and 
not a Sikhimite at all. It is to be hoped that our Govern- 
ment will see to this important matter, and so, while con- 
tributing to the welfare of his people and the development 


of his country, at the same time secure to ourselves a use- 
ful ally. 

On returning to the monastery with its flags fluttering 
lazily in the wind, in lazy keeping with everything else, 
we found a few presents of fruit, stale milk and butter 
etc. awaiting us from the minister. We acknowledged these 
gifts in the usual way, by sending him in return much 
more than their equivalent in value, and also paid toll to 
the servants who brought the things. The remainder of 
the evening, after dinner, we spent in watching the curious 
ritual of the priests in the temple. 

The monks or priests sat cross-legged in rows, according 
to their rank, the head-priest sitting next to the high altar, 
on which were ranged the idols of Buddha and the mon- 
strous Indian and Tibetan divinities of the Lamas. On it 
also were set brazen candlesticks, and bowls containing holy 
water, flowers stuck in English beer-bottles still bearing 
their original labels, cake-offerings and sacrificial implements. 
Clouds of incense filled the building, and in the smoky 
gloom of the temple, dimly lit by flickering candles, the 
monks half veiled and half visible chanted their spells to 
appease the divine wrath and to banish the devils. This 
service, at times, was most solemn and impressive. When 
the sound of voices rising from a low intoned drone swelled 
up into a loud joyous chant, and sank again into a whisper, 
and the only sound was the slow deep sepulchral tones of 
the chief priest, the influence of the mysticism seemed to 
steal into your very soul. Then suddenly the thunder of 


drums and the shout of the priests and people and the 
clash of cymbals crashes on your startled ear, and the 
service becomes for a time noisy and discordant. 

We were surprised to find that part of this service was 
specially for our benefit, as Kintoop had offered many 
candles and had arranged for special prayers for the success 
of our expedition and our safe return. 

What immensely tickled our Indian servants was the 
frequency with which refreshments of soup, tea and occasional 
rounds of beer were served out to the monks in the temple, 
during the intervals of worship. They declared that they 
would much like to belong to a religion which provided 
its votaries with creature comforts so abundantly. Before 
we turned in for the night we noticed an extraordinary 
procession of some of our coolies, who had evidently been 
paying visits and been too hospitably treated to murwa 
to drown the memory of their fatigues of yesterday. They 
were stumbling along, the most unsteady bringing up the 
rear, but all were in good humour and not at all boisterous ; 
and Kintoop assured us that they would be all right in 
the morning, and so they proved to be. 

Early next morning (12th October) we were off again 
to Upper Sikhim, along the Teesta Valley, by the lower 
road, as the short cut over the Mafi pass was blocked by 
a landslip. Over undulating spurs we passed the small 
monastery of De-thang, or " The Meadow of the Scented 
Laurel". This is a species of Daphne from whose tough 
bark the natives make paper. At the hamlet of Tingcham, 


where we encamped, goitre was common. One of the afflicted 
peasants, a rosy-cheeked, buxom girl, was brought by her 
parents to see if I could do anything to remove the dis- 
figuring swelling in her neck, which hindered her prospects 
of marriage. I gave her, as well as the others, some red 
iodide of mercury ointment and showed them how to apply 
it. But neither these people nor the headman, who brought 
us a few presents of food, gave us any useful information 
about the unexplored To-loong valley, up which we wished 
to go, and which we could now see looming dark and 
steep, some ten miles up the other side of the Teesta. 

The people are intensely superstitious, and many are the 
wild legends related of this lonely gorge, whose very name, 
"Valley of the Rocky Avalanches", seems appalling. These 
stories tell not only of the dangers from the showers of 
rocks that are shot down by the spirits of the glaciers 
and precipices, but also of the supernatural horrors which 
await the foolhardy person who dares to penetrate its 
lonely glens since the Lamas have placed the mausoleum 
of the kings there, and have worked their spells over it. 

One of the few monasteries of the aboriginal Lepchas is 
to be seen across the Teesta, almost opposite our tent. 
The Lepchas are boycotted by their disdainful Bhotiya 
rulers from the regular monasteries, and in self-defence 
they have established this one of Gyagong and two or 
three others of their own. But their form of Lamaism 
is even more depraved than that of the Bhotiyas. Thus 
they offer eggs and sacrifice fowls and other living things 


before the idol of the compassionate and sacrifice-abhorring 
Buddha I 

Here we saw several birds of that well-nigh extinct 
family, the Hornbills. They roosted on the trees like great 
vultures, painting their beaks bright vermilion from the 
paint-box they carry under their tails. Our Lepchas told us 
of the curious habits of these birds in regard to their 
nesting, how the male bird builds a thick mud wall all over 
his mate whilst she is hatching her eggs, leaving only a 
small orifice through which he feeds her until the young 
are fully fledged. 

Next day we crossed a valley lined with many landslips, 
of which one was still fresh and slightly moving as we 
scrambled over it. Beyond Ringon, or "The Monastery of 
the Hill", and its mendong or cairn of Sim, on a point which 
commands a fine view up the mysterious To-loong valley 
to the Kanchen-junga glaciers, we descended to the village 
of Singtam, where we encamped on the bank of a stream, 
beside two huge prayer-barrels or rather prayer-mills. They 
were turned like a water-mill at home, by the rushing 
waters of the brook. When the headman, or Pi-pon, came 
to pay his respects, bringing the usual small presents, we 
tried to induce him to get us some grain, as our coolies' 
food had already run alarmingly low, and we had been told 
that some maize was stored in this village. We therefore 
tried to tempt him to bring us some by offering four times 
the Darjeeling market rate, and the further reward of a fine 
coral necklace for his womenfolk, should he bring not less 


than two hundredweight of the grain before sunset. Although 
protesting that such a quantity could not be found, he 
afterwards turned up with it, and measured it out with his 
own hands, giving very skimp quantity. On receiving the 
money and the promised necklace, he put out his tongue 
and bowed his thanks in true Tibetan fashion (see illus- 
tration p. 172). The Kazi or baron who resided here in 
Hooker's time has transferred himself higher up to Ringon. 
I got some information about the lower To-loong Valley 
and its lonely monastery from a monk who had been there. 
He advised our going, as we had intended, by way of the 
Lachen valley. We enjoyed magnificent sunset views up 
the wild To-loong Valley, where the huge rock of Pon-nay 
stood up like a tall beetling tower or giant campanile. 

Our track next day led down to the bed of the rapidly 
rising Teesta; here in a cliffy canon we walked through 
shady groves of overhanging chestnuts, oaks, and maples, 
and past lovely fern and moss-grown grottoes, making many 
detours to circumvent precipitous rocks, over which cas- 
cades tumble down the cliffs and leap into mid-air to 
become lost in rainbow mist long before they reach the 
bottom of the cool gorge, where the thundering Teesta 
churns its waters into milk-white foam. At the Lepcha village 
of Namgor, where we were to encamp, we met a party of 
Tibetan shepherds, who had come with a large flock of 
sheep, that they were bringing to Darjeeling. They had 
come from the Tsang province by way of the Lachoong 
valley. After I had bought two sheep for ourselves and 


servants, they gave us the disquieting news that the Lachen 
route, up which we wished to go, would certainly not be 
open for several weeks at least. We thereupon despatched 
Kintoop with a letter and present to the abbot of the 
Choong-tang monastery at the foot of the Lachen valley, 
asking him to get the necessary bridges constructed at our 
expense without delay, and next day we pushed on ourselves 
to Choong-tang. 

Fording a stream of foaming cataracts, we struck down 
again to the canon of the Teesta, whose cool bed is now 
over 4,000 ft. above the sea. And after fording many 
tributary torrents we reached, beyond Chakoong, the open 
gravelly delta of the many-armed Ryot river, that rushes 
clear and sparkling over pebbly strands to join the Teesta 
close at hand. As we passed a copse of alders, on a ter- 
race that looked like an old moraine, we heard pheasants 
calling in the tempting cover, and my man afterwards 
brought in some silver pheasants that he had shot for us 
here. Thence we threaded the broad ancient bed of the 
Teesta, now a wilderness of stones, through which the track 
is marked out for the traveller by small pyramids of stones, 
crowning the top of the most conspicuous boulders. On we 
went until our course was suddenly barred by a great bend 
of the Teesta, which sweeps round under a huge cliff. This 
we had to scale by ladders of notched bamboos, the "high 
road" to Upper Sikhim in a very literal sense! Descending 
again to the river-bed beyond, we threaded our way 
amongst the great boulders to where, at an elevation of 



5,200 ft. above the [sea, the Lachen and Lachoong unite 
their waters to form the commencement of the Teesta. 

Here the 
road to Tibet branches into 
two, one of which leads up 
the Lachen, or the "Long 
Pass", and the other up the 
"Short Pass", or Lachoong, and from these two valley- 
passes the rivers respectively take their names. Upon the 
promontory formed by their junction, above a small meadow, 



stands the monastery of Choong-tang, or " The Meadow of 
Marriage (of the two rivers)." 

On crossing the Lachoong torrent by a good cane-bridge, 
we found Kintoop and the head Lama awaiting us with 
jugs of murzva, on the marshy meadow below the monastery. 
The Lama, though quite a youth, was strikingly handsome 
and dignified, and had short curly hair like the conventional 
images of Buddha. He presented a ceremonial scarf, in 
the Tibetan style, and said that immediately on receiving 
our message he had collected all the available men from 
surrounding hamlets to make the necessary bridges; and 
that all these men, some dozen or more, were then present. 
We thereupon held a council, at which it appeared that 
the construction of the three bridges over the Lachen would 
take nearly a week, as the largest would require to be 
built entirely from our side without any aid from the op- 
posite bank, as no Tibetans had yet come down that valley. 
There was no doubt as to the chief bridge being really broken, 
for Kintoop had himself gone up to the place, to ascertain 
the facts. This intelligence, I confess, was most disappoint- 
ing, especially as such delay at this time of the year, even 
were we to consent to wait so long in such a hole, meant 
almost certainly more snow on the upper passes to which 
we were bound. So we decided, reluctantly, to alter our 
programme and go up the Lachoong Valley instead, and 
thence try to work round into the Lachen Valley by Kang- 
ralamo, as Hooker did, in the reverse direction, or by the 
unexplored pass of Sherboo. And we were reconciled to 


this change when we looked up the Lachoong Valley. Our 
hearts were gladdened by the sight of its bold pine-clad 
slopes and peaks tipped with snow, only a few miles off; 
for it rises so rapidly that it is almost Alpine at this its 
lower end. Whilst our tents were being pitched on the 
meadow and breakfast was getting ready, we responded to 
the Lama's invitation to visit the monastery. 

We were received as honoured guests, and we must have 
formed quite a picturesque procession as we climbed the 
winding path to the convent, to the inspiriting strains of 
the temple band ! First, there marched the band in single 
file, blowing horns and trombones, clashing cymbals, and 
beating drums that were held aloft by a handle, like huge 
uplifted frying-pans, such as we had seen at Phodang. After 
the band, and immediately preceding us, walked the stately 
mitred Lama, carrying burning joss-sticks or tapers of sweet 
incense. We were escorted by several red-robed priests, while 
Kintoop with a straggling tail of our followers brought up 
the rear. 

The monastery is perched on a commanding knoll, over- 
looking the rivers. It is a small two-storied building of 
rude stone, with an upper wooden balcony reached by a 
notched log as a ladder. One of the chief idols in this 
temple is the tutelary goddess called "The Diamond Lady 
Sow". 25 This lady is not exactly the kind one would care 
to introduce to one's friends. She has the form of a woman 
with three heads, one of them a sow's, and her character 
is that of a blood-thirsty and vindictive she-devil. To account 


for her high position here, the Lamas say that the name 
of this place is not really, as the villagers call it, " Choong- 
tang"; but that it should be "Tsoon-tang" which means 
"The Meadow of our Lady (-Sow)". 

This now solitary place was once a Tibetan outpost, of 
which the ruins are still visible ; and it was the scene of 
much excitement about ten years ago. The people of the 
valleys of Lachen and Lachoong which meet here, are 
Tibetan herdsmen, over whom the abbot or Lama of this 
monastery claimed spiritual jurisdiction and extorted so many 
tithes that they rebelled against him. It is related, that 
the infuriated mob of herdsmen gathered here, and slaugh- 
tering two bull-yaks, one from each valley, at the spot 
where we are encamped, they dipped their hands in the 
reeking blood, and swore a great oath never again to owe 
allegiance to this Lama, or send their sons to be monks 
of this monastery, or do any of its drudgery or cultivate 
any of its lands. Then they marched up to the monastery, 
brandishing their swords, beating drums, and shouting ven- 
geance on the Lama ; but he, on hearing the outcry, had fled 
precipitately down the valley to Ringon monastery, where 
he still lives. The deserted monastery fell into decay, and 
remained in a ruinous state till 1883, when a more popular 
Lama was sent from Pemiongchi to re-establish it. This new 
Lama, however, went to the opposite extreme, it is said ; and 
so intimately identified himself with the Tibetans, that he joined 
them and fled to Tibet during our recent war with that country ; 
and at present our handsome young host is in charge. 


He acts up to his Buddhist ideal in some ways, for when 
I was going out, gun in hand, to look for game, he lamented 
over my sin of shooting, and appealed to me not to take 
any animal life, at least within some miles of the sacred 
temple of Buddha. So I had to go botanizing instead. 
And looking up out of this deep dark gorge to the inspirit- 
ing snowy peaks rising only a few miles up the valley, 
we were cheered to feel that we were really on the threshold 
of the Himalayan Alps, at last. 





Dong-kia's beetling bastions frowned 
A silent warning far around 
No foot may venture here. 

C. Macaulay's Lay of Lachen. 

Such a delightful day's walk we had up the lovely 
Alpine valley of Lachoong. It well repaid us for all our 
many days' discomfort in the hot gorges below. Our path 
ran along the bank of the rushing river. At first it led 
over gravelly strands in the cool river-bed, where clumps 
of familiar European shrubs and flowers showed the prox- 
imity of the snowy peaks, which now almost overhung us, 
although the forest on the banks was still semi-tropical. But 
every step carried us quickly up into an Alpine climate. 

After about a mile, we crossed to the opposite bank by 
a cane bridge near the place where Hooker lost his Tibetan 



dog "Kinchin"; and beyond this, over an old moraine, the 
valley opened out a little, and the snow fingered down 

the peaks on either side of 
us. The upper reaches ot the 
hillsides got more and more 
bare and rugged, and the 
contrast between their south- 
ern and northern sides was 
most striking. The warm 
southern slopes were still 
covered by dense forest, 
where straggling rattan-cane, 
or climbing palms, rose to 


the tops of trees 70 or 80 feet high, and trailing over 100 
yards through the jungle, penetrated almost to the pines 


that crowned the summits. The pines, as we moved upwards 
into cooler altitudes, were reaching farther and farther down 
the mountain sides; while in the cold northern shade, 
snow lay low down below the peaks, which on this side 
were mostly bare of trees. 

At the hamlet of Kedoom (6,400 feet) we halted at a 
hut in an orchard of peach and apricot trees, and found 
the fruit refreshing, though not yet ripe. Here there is a 
very marked change in the flora and fauna. Indeed this 
place, as Mr. Blanford observes, may be considered the 
boundary between the Malay and Palaearctic faunas, a 
boundary which on the eastern Chola range is 3,000 to 4,000 
feet higher. Wild goats {Gooral) are to be found here. 

We recrossed the river by a picturesque bridge on the 
cantilever principle, the same which is so common in China, 
and figured on the willow-pattern plates ; and I have seen 
the same style of bridge, only more elaborate, in Upper 
Burma. They resemble somewhat the ancient Gallic bridges 
described by Caesar, and much the same are still to be 
seen in the mountains of Savoy. Great logs of pine, oak, 
or other sturdy trees, are laid down on either bank and 
"canted" up, so that one end projects a long way over the 
bank, and the beams are fixed in this position by loading 
down their landward ends by heavy rocks. Then across 
the abutting ends of these piers, stretching from the one to 
the other, is placed a platform of three or four logs, lashed 
together; and on this, for footway, some planks and brush- 
wood are laid crosswise. It is thus a fairly strong suspension- 


bridge, and if made broad enough, as this one was, even 
cattle can cross it. 

Beyond this bridge, the valley broadened out, and the 
undergrowth got less dense. We passed up through a fine 
open glade in the forest, amongst walnut trees, where the 
squirrels were busy at work. We knocked down a few of 
the nuts and found them excellent. Onwards through hazel, 
holly, maple, crab-apple, poplar and pines, we entered an 
open grassy meadow, dotted by the peculiarly Tibetan 
cattle, the yaks, browsing on its rich pasture. 

This was the first time I had seen these Tibetan oxen, 
out of the "Zoo" in Regent's Park. They are shaggy beasts, 
in appearance something between the American bison, 
and the cattle of the Scotch highlands : and their curious 
grunting call is aptly denoted in their scientific name of 
"The Grunting Ox" [Bos grunniens). They are noble-looking 
massive animals, especially the bull-yaks, in spite of their 
oddly round and squat appearance, their broad straight 
backs, short legs, and long silky hair. This thick coat of 
hair which protects them from perishing in the arctic cold 
of the snows, is longest on their sides and undersurfaces, 
and in some of the older animals it almost sweeps the 
ground. The tail ends in a great bushy tuft, which serves 
the same purpose as the bushy tail of the hybernating 
squirrel, curling over its owner's feet and nose when asleep, 
like a rug, and thus affording protection against the intense 
cold of the Himalayan nights. These bushy yak-tails are 
much in demand in India, as fly-whisks (chowrics) for In- 



dian princes, and as royal emblems for the idols in Indian 

temples. The colour of the wild yak is a dark brown, 

almost black ; but most of the domestic yaks acquire a good 

deal of white with the black predominating ; and those most 

valued have their 

muzzles tipped with 

white, some white on 

their neck, and their 

tails entirely white. The 

female yaks are called 

Di-mo ; and the A-yn 

are a kind of polled 

yak. Here also were 


some hybrids between these domestic yaks and the common 
Indian cow ; for the yak interbreeds freely with most other 
species of the ox tribe. 2fi These hybrids are called Zo, and 
are said to stand these warmer valleys better than pure 
yaks, though even they cannot survive the heat of much 


lower elevations in this latitude. Most of these cattle are 
rather fierce, and we found it politic to give them a wide 
berth in passing. 

Perhaps nothing gives a better notion of the essentially 
pastoral character of a primitive language like the Tibetan, 
than the evident relation of the name of the Yak, to the 
ideas of" wealth " and " excellence ". In pastoral Tibet, where 
the use of money is almost unknown and business is done 
mainly by barter, the word for wealth means " possessed 
of cattle" — the herds of yaks and sheep. While the word 
"Yak" itself is evidently onomato-poetic, coined from the 
call of the beast: and it seems to have conveyed to the 
rude Tibetan mind the beau ideal of excellence — nothing 
seemed better than a good fat yak — and hence it came to form 
the common word for that which is "good and excellent." 

The sight of these Tibetan cattle with their Tibetan herds- 
men, the so-called "Dok-pa", and their fierce visaged deep- 
voiced mastiffs, who are marked like bears, with a white 
patch on the breast, and hence their usual name is "Bear" 
[Tom-mo], made us feel that we were nearing the borders 
of Tibet itself. And this was still more evident when the 
musical jingle of harness bells heralded the approach of 
a party of Tibetan merchants, who came riding on ponies 
and yaks, and driving a string of laden yaks. For baggage- 
animals pass regularly along this track from Kedoom to 
and from Tibet. Here, too, a Lammergeyer eagle came 
to greet us, hovering on widespread wings, high overhead, 
the unfailing escort of the traveller in these high regions. 


The valley now had grown truly Alpine. On either side 
of us rose snow-capped mountains, almost bare of trees, 
except in the ravines where rhododendrons and dark pines 
clustered thickly. These elegant pines {Abies Smithiana), the 
"Spruce" of Hooker, and another {Tsuga Brunnonid), had 
been advancing slowly down the hillsides and first reached 
the river bank on the cold northern aspect of a head-land, 
about 8,000 feet above the sea-level, and about ten miles 
above Choong-tang, whence we had started that morning. 

Suddenly, on rounding a grassy spur, we came on the 
village of Lachoong (8,600 ft.), lying like a truly Alpine 
town in the bottom of the open valley, at the junction of 
the Lete river with the Lachoong, and amidst the grass- 
covered moraines noticed by Hooker. We were met outside 
the village by a party of the inhabitants led by the head- 
man, who presented a scarf and saluted us in Tibetan style, 
pressing forward his right ear and putting out his tongue 
in his most polite way. 

This extraordinary form of salutation is, I think, one of 
the best illustrations possible of that kind of salutation which 
Herbert Spencer 27 classes as expressing the self-surrender 
of the person saluting to the person he salutes. And it has 
never been properly described before. There is no " scratch- 
ing " of the ear as stated by Hue and the writers following 
him. What is done in addition to the uncovering and low bow 
or prostration, and the abject putting out of the tongue, 
is that the Tibetan presses forward his left ear. This, it 
seems to me, is in accordance with the ancient Chinese 



custom of cutting off the left ears of all prisoners taken in 
war, and presenting them to the victorious chief. 

The presentation of the scarf of white Chinese silk is an 
essential part of Tibetan courtesy. Not only is this 



necessary in paying formal visits, but no favour can be 
asked of a superior without it, and it forms the envelope 
for all important letters. So extensively indeed are these 
articles used in Tibet, that their importation forms a consider- 
able trade with China. 


We pitched our tent on the velvety bank of grass border- 
ing the river, and nestling under a great craggy mountain 
that rose abruptly many thousand feet above us. How 
high it rose, indeed, we could not see, as its head was hid 
in mist; but a glacier peeped over its cliffy shoulder and 
patches of snow lay low on its sides, and the chill blast 
blew down its slopes and made us quickly don our warmest 

Our tent was soon the centre of an admiring crowd of 
villagers who watched all our proceedings, open mouthed 
and open eyed, as most of them had never seen Europeans 
before. Some of the girls looked picturesque in tartan 
skirts and small round hats, and dressed generally like the 
Bhotiya women at Darjeeling. Those wearing conch-shell 
bracelets on their wrist are usually married. The greatest 
attraction of all for the people was to see us dine, which 
we did al fresco to enjoy the view. It was interesting to 
watch the yaks browsing high up the crags above us. How 
they got there and found a footing was a marvel. It made 
one almost dizzy to look up at these great beasts scrambling 
like chamois along the slippery face of the cliffs, which 
by fore-shortening seemed almost perpendicular. They 
clambered over loose masses of rock where at every moment 
we expected either to see them dashed down before our 
eyes, or send some of the rocks thundering down to over- 
whelm us below. At sunset, which occurred at 4 o'clock, 
when the sun suddenly dipped behind Kanchen-junga and 
threw the valley into cold shade, the herdsmen called their 


cattle home ; and then these big beasts lumbered down 
the precipitous hills at a run, and gathered on the meadow 
near our tent, where their playful antics, so clumsy and 
uncouth, were ludicrous to see. Instead of lowing, they 
literally grunted with joy, and most of them have tinkling 
bells, like Alpine cattle. Here I got my first glass of yak's 
milk. It surpasses in richness the richest Devonshire cream, 
and is too rich in fact to drink, but with oatmeal porridge 
next morning was excellent. A young yak was bought as 
meat for the camp. Amongst some presents that were 
brought us, were some sweet little turnips, grown locally 
from Tibetan seed ; such would be most welcome at Darjee- 
ling, which is badly off for vegetables. They have no 
Murwa beer here as millet is too bulky to import so far. 
Instead of this they drink a coarse stuft brewed from maize, 
and even this is a luxury. Buckwheat and barley are the 
only grains grown locally. 

I had some interesting conversation with several of the 
people, and with the Lama of the place. 

The inhabitants of this valley are called Ha-pa or Har-pa 
Tibetans, as they came originally from the Ha province of 
south-western Tibet, bordering Bhotan. They are nomads 
in habit. Though they have fixed their head-quarters at 
this village, few of them stay here for more than a few 
months. In the early spring, as the snows melt on the 
upland pastures, they move up the valley with their herds, 
by stages, to their summer grazing-stations, which lie at 
intervals of four or five miles all along the upper valley. 


And at each of these stations are erected rude huts as 
shelters, which are evacuated as the herdsmen move on. 
In this way, they ascend gradually higher and higher as 
the weather warms, till they reach the summit of the Dongkia 
pass (18,000 ft.) about June, when it is usually unsnowed 
and open. Thence, they cross the frontier into Tibet and 
move slowly along with their black yak-hair tents, a few 
of their cattle, and their produce, to Kamba-jong, the head- 
quarters of the adjoining district in Tibet. A few go even 
as far as the capital of Western Tibet (Shiga-tse or Tashil- 
humpo). At those marts they barter their goods for salt, 
tea, cloth, rugs, jewellery etc., and then they slowly return 
so as to recross the frontier into Sikhim about the end of 
August, and retreat down this Lachoong valley before the 
advancing snow. In mid-winter they leave Lachoong and 
drive their yaks and other cattle still further down, almost 
to Kedoom. The valley has thus practically only one vil- 
lage, and in this respect the neighbouring valley of Lachen 
is said to resemble it. These people pride themselves 
immensely on their pure Tibetan blood, and do not conceal 
their contempt for the Sikhimese, though they have to pay 
revenue to the Rajah of Sikhim. This is paid in kind, at 
the rate of two pounds of butter for each milk-yak, and 
a blanket and two pounds of salt for each house. 

Kintoop announced that the fugitive ex-Lama of Choong- 
tang monastery, of whom we have heard, and of whose 
capabilities Mr. Macaulay had formed a high opinion, had 
returned secretly from Tibet and desired to see me. He came 


carrying a presentation scarf, which I accepted, although at 
that time I was unaware that my acceptance of it meant, 
according to the custom of these people, that I would favour- 
ably consider his request. He was a jolly-looking, typical 
monk of middle age, with an intelligent and shrewd expres- 
sion, and he rejoiced in the title of "The Holder of the 
Religious Mysteries", " 8 which he was careful to write on his 
card in the vernacular. He said that he had all along been 
loyal to the English, and had rendered much assistance to Mr. 
Macaulay, who had taken him to see the sights of Calcutta ; 
and that as he had there seen with his own eyes evidence 
of the great power of the English, it was absurd to think 
that he had been intriguing against us, with the poor 
Tibetans, as his detractors alleged. "No," said he, "I have 
been consistently loyal to the English, and that is why the 
Tibetans carried me off by force." — "What other punish- 
ment," I asked in an incredulous tone," have the Tibetans 
inflicted upon you ? " — " None," he replied, " that was enough 
to compromise me; and now as they have released me, I 
wish to be re-instated in my monastery here in Sikhim. 
For," said he, " although this monastery belongs to my sect 
(Pemiongchi), yet the new English political officer has con- 
fiscated it, and given it to the rival sect," whose head, our 
old friend the Lama of Phodang, is now politically supreme. 
I advised him to represent his case to our political officer. 
The view up the Lete Valley towards Tang-kar Pass, 
the " Tungra" of Hooker, was so attractive that we decided 
to go there next day. The only information we possess of 



this pass is the brief notice by Hooker, of his visit to it 
more than forty years ago, and since that time no European 
appears to have visited it. 

Our coolies now got quite excited at the prospect of 
getting into the snow, and busied themselves in preparing 
for this arctic weather. Several began mending their snow- 
boots and their blanket-coats; and the women, as if their 
faces were not dirty enough already, smeared more brown 
paint around their eyes and noses, as a protection against 
possible snow-blindness. The Tibetans suffer a good deal 
from this affection, and always use goggles when they can 
get them — coloured glasses stitched into a band of cloth, 
as metal is so painfully cold. The commonest eye-preservers 
consist of a gauze netting of closely plaited, black yak- 
hair; but the poorer people when crossing the snow merely 
blacken their faces around the eyes and nose with dark 
pigment. This latter practice is followed by the women of 
the lower classes of Tibet at all times of the year, even 
at Darjeeling where there is no snow. This hideous custom 
is said to have been forced on them by the Lamas, to 
lessen their attractions for possible admirers amongst the 
wavering members of the celibate monkhood. 

It was almost freezing as the darkness settled in, and a 
few drops of sleety rain fell from the threatening sky. During 
the night I was awakened by a rumbling and shaking like 
an earthquake, but on looking out, I found that the cause 
of the disturbance was a yak that had strayed amongst 
the tent ropes, and it was more alarmed than myself. 


Next morning we were off for the Tang-kar pass, leaving 
here at Lachoong our heavy stores and the weakliest of 
our coolies, as we must return this way. We crossed the 
river on some logs and saplings thrown over the boulders, 
the regular bridge having lately been swept away by a 
flood, which had cut a fresh section through the end of 
the moraine on which the village is built, and a streamlet 
poured over this in small cascades. The bulk of the village 
stands on this terraced left bank, and as we passed upwards, 
the score or so of houses presented a suggestively Swiss 
appearance with their wooden balconies, projecting eaves 
and truly Alpine setting, amidst dark pines and snowpeaks. 
Ascending this lateral moraine which belts the Lete valley, 
we rose rapidly, passing on the way the small monastery, 
where the Lama came forward and pompously presented 
a scarf, and received in return a couple of rupees, or eight 
times the cost of the scarf. 

Continuing our ascent over a bare ridge, dotted here 
and there with the graceful Himalayan larch {Larix Griffithii) 
which grows at about from 8,000 to 12,000 feet, we struck 
the gorge of the tumultuous Lete, and followed up its steep 
bank amidst pines and rhododendrons. Here a species of 
wild red currant, pleasant to the taste, grows abundantly. 
After a time, the track got lost in the rocky bed of the 
stream, along which we picked our way amongst the great 
boulders, through most beautiful scenery : avenues of magni- 
ficent pines, graced by cascades, and overhung by snowpeaks. 
After a mile or so, we gained the track on the opposite side 



and passed up through the pine forest oi Abies Dwnosa and the 
silver-fir (A Webbiana, — in Tibetan "Dura Shing"), and here 
and there great black juniper trees {J. excelsa), the " Shook- 
pa" of the Tibetans, the aromatic wood of which is burnt as 


incense in the temples, and is the "pencil-cedar" of com- 
merce. I shot here, near an overhanging rock, a speckled 
wood pigeon, and higher up a snow pigeon {Columba len- 
conota), and very good eating they were — Hooker tells how 
these last formed his chief animal food for some months, 
when the Sikhim officials cut off his meat supply in the 


hope of starving him out of the country. Presently we 
reached the upper limit of trees, and here we encamped 
amongst the rhododendrons and red and blue barberry, at 
about 12,000 feet elevation. The cessation of trees was 
not due to any change in the geological formation, but 
merely to cold and height. So spongy with damp was the 
boggy soil, that we had to cut down a quantity of the 
pine branches as a platform on which to pitch our tents. 
Hanging from the few straggling storm-tossed pines were 
masses of a stringy white lichen {Usnea barbatd), which 
fluttered from their branches like grizzly beards. 

Our men always preferred the forest to the open as a place 
of encampment; not only for shelter from the cold and 
wind, but also for the sake of fuel for their cooking fire, 
and the convenient fire-place which a tree-trunk offers, 
especially that of a dead tree. They kindle their fire at 
the foot of such a tree, and the rotten touch-wood at the 
centre ignites, and the trunk thus getting hollowed out by 
the fire, acts as a reflector in throwing the heat forward. 
Some of the half-rotten logs were luminous, and glowed in 
the dark— this was due probably not to ''phosphorescence", 
but rather to the presence of luminous micro-organisms, 
for this wood was stained dark green by some kind of 

The morning dawned intensely cold, the thermometer 
registered two degrees Fah. below the freezing-point. The 
grass and foliage were white with frost, and the ice spangles 
of the frozen forest glittered in the sun. We started off in 


the crisp keen air, crackling the ice over the shallow puddles 
of yesterday. The many streamlets that we crossed were 
fringed with icicles, hanging from the dripping banks and 
stones. Ascending the bleak open valley — like a highland 
moor, with rhododendron instead of heather — for about two 
miles, the rocks closed in around us, and we entered a great 
rocky cul-de-sac, whose walls rose up like giant towers and 
battlements, that shut the snows from our view. Through 
a deep cleft in this wall, the stream tumbled down in a 
string of cascades, and here, at an elevation of about 14,000 
feet, we decided to encamp, as the pass could be easily 
reached from this point the following day; and also because 
the dwarf rhododendron-brushwood ended here, and it was 
now our only fuel. After selecting a picturesque and sheltered 
spot for our tent, and while B. went botanizing below, I 
climbed the precipice to the cleft in the rocky wall, through 
which the rivulet precipitated itself headlong. The cliff was 
not so sheer as it looked from below. A steep track zig- 
zagged up its face, but no bridle-path could easily be 
made here for mountain artillery. 

The view from the top was superb. At ten o'clock not 
a cloud obscured the summits. Westwards the view ex- 
tended away down the rocky valley up which we had come, 
to the black tree-line, and down the deep trough to the 
silvery Lachoong river, over 8,000 feet below, beyond which 
rose range upon range of snowy mountain and blue glaciers 
up to Kanchen-junga and Kabroo. The contour of this 
latter mountain as seen from here, is a long undulating ridge, 

1 84 


not the elegant tent-like form of its foreshortened southern 
view, as seen from Darjeeling. And looking upwards through 
the cleft where the rushing stream wrestled with the rocks 
that barred its progress, was a peak of everlasting snow, 


only a few hundred yards off, dazzling white against the 
dark blue of the Tibetan sky. 

On passing further up this narrow gorge, the stream was 
seen to turn sharply up to a snowfield on the right, towards 



the pass; so I sent on a man to report on the snow-track 
to the pass, and I climbed a few hundred feet higher to 
the crest of the cliff called La-che-pia, overlooking our camp, 
and found it to be a miniature tableland. This ascent was 
over a slope of patches of snow overlying loose shingly 
splinters of rock, chipped off by 
the frost, and which slid down 
under foot as you went. 

In this ascent, 
I felt for the first 
time the effects of 
the rarefied air of 
this great eleva- 
tion, for I was now 
about the height 
of Mont Blanc, 
although no ice- 
climbing had yet 
been done. The 
slightest exertion giant wild rhubarb. 

now caused short- 
ness of breath, and a faint headache and giddiness; but 
these disagreeable sensations ceased immediately I remained 
at rest. The natives believe that these symptoms are caused 
by a poison in the air, which they call " the poison of the 
pass " {La-dook). 

In this treeless region there was very little grass and 
turf, but many flowers. Indeed the number of "living flowers 


that skirt the eternal frost" was here remarkable. Although 
so late in the season, there were still a few gentians bloom- 
ing amongst the withered primroses, and a great variety 
of flowers of the "everlasting" kind, enveloped by Dame 
Nature in such warm woolly coats of hair as to resemble 
fleecy tufts or balls of wool. Of these the most striking were 
the Alpine lover's favorite flower, the Edelweiss {Leontopo- 
dium alpinus) or " Lion's foot", and the large woolly aromatic 
Saussurea gossypiphora, which the Lamas use as decora- 
tion for their altars. The weirdest of objects in this treeless re- 
gion is the giant wild rhubarb {Rheum nobile), 29 the " Cliuka " 
of the Tibetans. Its tall pale pyramids of about four feet 
high and an equal diameter at the base, standing on all 
the topmost cliffs ranging up to 15,500 feet, looked like 
sentries guarding these gigantic battlements ; and more than 
once they misled me into stalking them for a possible 
snow-bear or eagle. As few Europeans have ever seen this 
magnificent plant growing in its home, I here reproduce 
its photograph, the first I believe that has ever been taken. 
The graceful incurving of the pale pink leaves of its tall 
stem to protect its bunches of seeds is remarkable. Its 
stem contains a large quantity of water, a grateful beverage 
to the thirsty traveller, and the stalks of its leaves are as 
pleasantly acid to the taste as our cultivated rhubarb. 

No trace whatever could I find of the glacier which 
Hooker places here. The line of perpetual snow is uneven, 
and strange to say, it here descends much further on the 
sunny southern side than on the cool northern shade, though 


on the more outlying spurs the reverse holds. This is 
evidently owing to the greater portion of the rain-clouds 
which come from India on the south precipitating them- 
selves at once, as snow, and leaving little of their mois- 
ture for the drier northern sides and Tibet. Here, the line 
of perpetual snow, although in places over 18,000 ft., aver- 
ages a height of about 16,000 ft. above the sea-level, and 
comes as low as 15,000 ft., compared with about 9,000 ft. 
in the latitude of the Swiss Alps. In winter the snow falls 
in this part of the Himalayas as low down as 6,000 ft., but 
it seldom lies for more than a few days even at 10,000 ft. 
Though it was not yet noon the clouds which had been 
creeping up the valley now began to drift over me, and by 
the time I got down to camp all the snows were hidden 
in clouds. 

The tent was tied to rocks and boulders, as tent-pegs 
could not be used in such a stony place. We spent the 
day rambling over the hillsides. I sighted some partridges 
and a monal pheasant feeding on the rhododendron berries, 
but I did not get a shot at them. Achoom's trouble with 
this high altitude in his cooking operations was amusing. 
He came to me with a long face, and said, " O, sir, the water 
of this place is very bad 1 It will not boil properly. I have 
boiled the potatoes and the rice and vegetables for more 
than three hours and still they are hard." The real reason 
of course was that the water, under the reduced atmospheric 
pressure, boiled at so low a temperature that it did not 
burst the starch grains fully. So I told Achoom to roast 


his potatoes and not to try to boil them. We were now 
quite out of bread, which grew mouldy in less than a week, 
and even that also which we had toasted to preserve it 
for softening down in stews, tasted now like old Stilton. 

We started for the pass next morning (October 19th) 
before day-break, so as to secure an unclouded view, and 
to get over the frozen snow before it began to thaw in 
the sun. Proceeding upwards through the rocky throat of 
the gorge, we entered the stony valley to the right, between 
bold snowy peaks, and crossing the frozen streamlet, we 
soon reached the snow-field, which stretches up in an 
unbroken sheet for about three miles to the top of the 
pass. From this expanse of perpetual snow the name is 
derived — Tang-kar, or "The White (Snow-) Field". On the 
way we had frequently to stop to recover our breath in 
the rarefied air. 

On reaching the top, our men shouted a prayer to the 
spirit of this pass, and tearing shreds from their dresses, tied 
them to the tops of some prayer-flags which projected from 
a rude cairn on the fine sweep of snow on the summit. 

The view into Tibet from here is striking. The snow 
ceases a few yards below the summit, and beyond this 
rises a panorama of dark, bare peaks streaked with a fiery 
welter of tints like the burned up hills of Aden, but set 
in a framework of dazzling snow, and capped by snowy 
peaks soaring up into a clear Italian sky. The cold was 
bitter, but the piercing wind that swept the top was much 
more trying than the cold itself. This icy blast, sharp as 



a razor, cut and skinned our faces, froze our breath into 
flakes of snow, hung icicles from moustaches, and striking 
our temples, through our closely-fitting woollen arctic caps, 
caused severe headache. Yet thousands of tiny birds, like 
wag-tails, annually migrate over such exposed passes to and 
from Tibet ; though when the temperature of such winds is 
much below the freezing-point, we were told, even eagles 


and other large birds often drop stone dead in their 

We descended a short way down the Tibetan side, as 
there was no guard to oppose us; and Kintoop pointed 
out the position of a distant hot spring that he had formerly 
visited. Returning to the summit, we tried to boil a ther- 
mometer to control the reading of our aneroid which gave 
the height at about 16,500 ft., as on the survey map, but 


after half-an-hour's assiduous trial and the expenditure of 
all our fuel (spirit as well as a large bundle of firewood) 
and all our patience, the thing would not boil. This in- 
strument, a "hypsometer" of the latest pattern and by the 
best London makers, is quite unsuited for its purpose in 
such altitudes. It is made of brass, which parts so quickly 
with its heat in these intensely cold regions, that the water 
cannot be heated to the boiling-point. What is needed is 
a less conductive metal, and a jacket of felt or other non- 
conducting material, also a mica-screen to prevent the flame 
being extinguished by the wind. It would be interesting 
to know how the native survey-spies boiled their thermo- 
meters in Tibet, as they were supplied with these badly 
designed instruments, and the heights of most of the passes 
in Central and S. W. Tibet, as found in the maps, are given 
on their authority. 

Leaving the pass about 10 a. m., we found some difficulty 
in retracing our steps, as the snow had begun to thaw and 
we sank deeply in places, and the dazzling glare was very 
trying in spite of our dark spectacles. For the fierce sun 
in this latitude so heated up the air as to raise its temper- 
ature to 1 1 5 Fah. three feet above the snow, when out 
of the wind; so that, paradoxical as it may seem, it sometimes 
happens that people get sunstroke even amidst the snow. 

We looked again for the glacier mentioned by Hooker, 
but could find no trace whatever of it. There probably 
has been some mistake in placing it here, for it would 
indeed be remarkable that a glacier should have entirely 



disappeared within forty years and yet have left behind no 
trace of any very recent glacial action. The stream from 

TANG-KAR PASS (16,500 feet). 

the snow-field had already in these few hours become 
swollen to twice its size by the melting snows. 

At night the temperature in our tent fell four degrees 
(Fah.) below the freezing-point, and we needed all our 


warmest woollen and sheepskin wraps; and our poor men 
who could not be accommodated in the servants' tent, sought 
the shelter of some overhanging rocks to our leeward, where 
they huddled together; for rocks get heated up by the 
sun during the day, and retain much of this heat long 
after the ground has radiated it off. The stars in this high 
altitude sparkled with unwonted brilliancy. 

I was roused next morning about sunrise, by a strange 
European voice outside, cheerily calling to my servants in 
Hindoostani, " Is your master here ? " Wondering who this 
could be at such a place where no European had been 
for so many years and at such a time, I hurried out to 
find a stalwart figure leaning on an alpenstock. Bidding 
me good morning, he pointed to the cleft, and said, " Is that 
the pass?" — and seemed incredulous when I replied that it 
lay over two miles higher up. " For," said he, " my aneroid, 
which I have just received from the Survey office, registers 
16,000 ft., and my map gives 16,100 ft. as the height of the 
pass." I showed him that my watch-aneroid had beaten 
his, as it recorded over 22,000 ft. for this height, whilst 
our large one which had been standardized a few weeks 
before at the Survey office, gave a reading of a few feet 
under 14,000, which coincided with the results of our boiling- 
point thermometer or hypsometer. The truth is that small 
aneroids are only toys, and not to be trusted. After a cup 
of coffee, he said he must push on as he was going over 
the pass down into the Choombi Valley of Tibet. I suggested 
that this might lead to awkward political complications, 


seeing that our boundary commissioners had just arrived at 
some understanding with the Tibetans and Chinese as to 
this as a boundary line which Europeans must not cross, 
and the Chinese ambassador was himself at the present 
moment on the Tibetan side, not far from this pass. Our 
gallant friend, however, declared that he would risk such 
troubles ; so I wished him good luck, and he and his coolies 
clambered up the cliff and soon disappeared through the 
cleft. I afterwards heard that he was seized by the Tibetans 
and carried to the irate Chinese Commissioner, who promptly 
deported him across the frontier and required considerable 
persuasion to hush the matter up. 

Our canvas tent was a curious sight in the crisp keen 
air. After our men had loosened all the ropes, it still remain- 
ed standing, as it had been frozen stiff as a board with 
the moisture of our breath. And it had to be beaten with 
the tent poles and sticks to fell it to the ground, and to 
roll it up. 

The return to Lachoong was easy, as it was directly 
down hill. On arrival at Lachoong, an open note was put 
into my hand, addressed to "The Doctor travelling in Upper 
Sikhim". It was from an unknown correspondent, and 
implored me to come at once to Kedoom where a friend 
of his was in an alarming and apparently dying state. 
Anxious as I was to push on up the valley, I could not 
resist such an appeal ; so although I had already done a 
fair day's march in our descent of about 6,000 feet, I at 
once started off down the valley on foot, as no pony could 



be got, accompanied by Kintoop and the man who brought 
the letter as a guide. The man led me to the small temple- 
cottage outside which we had halted to eat some apricots 
on the way up, and there in a room I met my correspondent 
attending a prostrate figure, whom I found unconscious and 
in a dying condition. As a last resource I applied a few 
medicines that I had brought with me, but he never rallied, 
and he died next morning about 4 a.m. His was a sad 
death. He was the Reverend S — h, who had been in weak 
health in Calcutta, and almost immediately after coming to 
the hills had started off to the Dong-kia Pass, where the 
rarefied air, combined with the cold and glare of the white 
/ocks and snow, had caused fatal inflammation of both lungs, 
and some sun-stroke as well. We decided to bury him here, 
as his remains could not well be carried back to Darjeeling, 
which was more than a week's journey along the hot 
intervening valleys. So we fixed on a romantic spot for 
his grave : and on a terrace above the house where he died, 
and overlooked by snowy peaks, the rushing waters of the 
Lachoong murmur unceasingly their lament over the last 
resting-place of our unfortunate fellow-traveller. 

Returning to our camp at Lachoong, I found B. suffer- 
ing from a slight cold caught on the pass. As he felt 
disinclined to proceed for a few days, and we had just 
entered the most interesting portion of the mountains, and 
the cloudy sky presaged snow on the higher passes, I 
therefore pushed on next day up the valley, leaving Achoom 
and Rameses the cook, and most of the other servants 



with B., and arranged for letters to be forwarded on to me 
by runners. Kintoop, of course, I took with me, and also 
in addition to two yaks for baggage, ten strong Sikhimese 
and Tibetan coolies. I was rather loth to have to take as 


cook Rameses' assistant, who rejoiced in the name of "The 
Mighty Ocean" (Gyatsho), a title which aptly defined his 
insatiable capacity for pilfering and devouring our scanty 
stores ; nor was his cooking very tempting, but I could 
not afford to be fastidious. 

I was glad to be able to ride up the greater part of 


the fifteen miles to Yoomtang, after the fatigues of the 
previous day and night. My mount was a shaggy little 
Tibetan pony, not much to look at, but very sure-footed. 
The tinkling collar bells which rang out a chime as I passed 
along, I could have dispensed with, nor was the high-peaked 
Tibetan saddle at all comfortable. Progress was slow, as 
I could only go at a walk owing to the uncertainty of the 
track. The owner of the pony acted as guide. He was 
a native of this valley, and told me as we went the quaint 
legends of the places we passed. One of these was 


In the heart of the Tibetan mountains, to the north of 
the neighbouring pass, the Dong-kia, lie the vast ruins of 
a deserted city, near the village of Ge. In the olden times 
when this city was flourishing it was the size of 2,000 villages 
and had 4 great monasteries. One day an inhabitant 
setting out for the city of Tashilunpo with firewood for 
sale, finding that the load on one side of one of his asses 
was heavier than the other, he picked up a stone the size 
of a ram's head, and tied it to the lighter side to equalize 
the loads. On arrival at Tashilunpo, the Grand Lama saw 
the stone, and divining that it was a lucky talisman, he 
asked the man about it, and on receiving it as a present, 
he carried it off and deposited it in his monastery. Ever 
since that time the monastery of Tashilunpo has prospered 
enormously and come to rival Lhasa, but Ge has decayed. 
And the prophecy has come true, that when Ge loses its 


talisman, it will become empty both inside and out. Even 
so it is. Now there are only ten huts left. 

My guide, like most of the Tibetans hereabout, is a 
polyandrist. This peculiar institution, Polyandry, — the op- 
posite of polygamy, —whereby two or three or more men are 
married to one wife in common, seems to have been widely 
prevalent in ancient times. It even existed in Great Britain 
according to Caesar. Its origin cannot, from what we know 
of the lack of chivalry amongst Tibetans, be explained 
on the principle that " the single possession of one wife is a 
blessing too great for one individual to aspire to " ! It is 
rather regarded in this pastoral country as an arrangement 
to protect the joint-family when its head is away for weeks, 
herding the cattle ; and it is also viewed as a device to 
keep the common property within the family, in a country 
which cannot support a large population. Here, in Sikhim, 
however, it is usually a fraternal polyandry, that is to say 
the conjoint husbands are usually brothers. And the practice 
is that if the eldest brother marries, his wife is the joint 
wife of all the brothers; while if the second brother mar- 
ries, then his wife is common only to the second and 
younger brothers, and not to the elder. An exception to 
this rule, however, is the present Queen of Sikhim, who was 
originally married to the younger half-brother of the present 
king, and she now is the joint wife of both. The children 
call the eldest of the conjoint brothers their "father". The 
family relationships are therefore somewhat complicated, 


especially when, as sometimes happens, some of these 
ladies are the happy possessors of half a dozen husbands. 

Ascending the right bank of the river, we picked our 
way amongst the boulders, and soon reached the junction 
with the Si-boo, which rushes down a fine rugged valley 
from the steep Gora pass, far up which we could see a 
glacier. Then we zigzagged up a steepish rocky track 
called the "Tired Yak Pass" [Yak-che La), the foot of which 
is the usual stage for tired laden yaks coming up from 
Lachoong ; and here are some huts of a grazing-station. 
Beyond this we passed through a magnificent pine forest 
whose darkness was relieved by the golden autumn tints of 
the larch, and fording many crystal streamlets we reached 
the Po-nying rivulet (10,850 ft.), where there is said to be 
a detached mass of rock that rises sheer, like a pulpit, 
about 2,000 feet high. 

Further on we came to the wreckage of a tremendous 
avalanche. The whole side of a great mountain, that 
towered above us about three miles to our left, had broken 
away, and come thundering down some six years ago ; and 
the rocky avalanche had covered the valley for many miles 
with its debris and buried several miles of forest quite out 
of sight, leaving only a fringe of splintered pines project- 
ing from its borders. The enormous mass of these fallen 
rocks had thrust the river to the opposite side of the valley, 
over a mile out of its course, and had dammed up its 
waters there, forming a lake. 

This is a common way in which lakes are formed in the 



Himalayas. Instances of it are to be found in the case of 
the lacustrine valley of Nepal, and probably in the Lepcha 
legend of the lower Teesta already referred to, and in the 
lake of Naini Tal, and the Tals or lakes in its vicinity. 
And such lakes thus suddenly formed and having at their 
outfall no rocky barriers in situ, are subject to quite as 
sudden disappearance. I myself witnessed how this occurred 
when travelling in the North Western Himalayas in 1882. 
On the night of the 23rd August of that year, the sudden 
pressure of water from the flood of an excessive rainfall burst 
through the outfall dam of Bhim Tal, whose waters rushed 
down the valley, sweeping away stretches of the forest, and 
when I saw the lake early next morning, its level had fallen over 
twenty feet, leaving the greater part of its bed a muddy plain. 
High above this great landship we could see {vide illus- 
tration) the scars on the cliffs that had been rent asunder, 
still standing out clear and sharp. Luckily this catastrophe 
happened during the night, and no human lives are believed 
to have been lost, and only a few cattle. My guide said 
that all this havoc was wrought by the malignant spirit of 
the mountain, for some offence that had been given him; 
though as to what this offence was opinions differed much. 
The rock seems to be a weathered granite, and its fall 
happened during a sudden frost, which by expanding the 
water in the crevices of the rock, splits the latter asunder 
like dynamite; but probably an earthquake also had to do 
with it, as there are some hot springs near, which indicate 
volcanic action not far off. 


Clambering over this great field of rock like a vast 
quarry, the aspect of the valley changed. It grew darker 
and wilder. Beetling crags and bleak stony slopes carried 
the blackness of the pines up almost to the snows. But 
our track wound along the pleasanter wooded bottom of 
the valley, through rhododendrons, larches and willows that 
fringed the river bank. Here and there we crossed the 
shingly bed of an armlet of the river, which split up into 
many branches, rushing swiftly between green turfy islets. 

In this maze of tracks my guide pointed out the device 
of marking the trail by a handful of freshly cut twigs. 
Laid lengthwise on one of the diverging tracks, these twigs 
signify that that one so marked is the one the traveller should 
choose. If laid crosswise they read "no passage this way." 

A hot spring (in Tibetan Sa-chod) marked its position 
far up the valley by a cloud of steam that hung over it. 
And my men became loud in their praises of the marvellous 
healing virtues of its waters as a panacea for every ailment 
under the sun. It lay on the opposite bank, and we had 
to cross over to it by a slippery log-bridge. The hot water, 
smelling of rotten eggs, oozed from numerous crevices in 
the granite rocks at an elevation of 11,730 ft. At the 
largest spring a well or pool of about three feet has been 
excavated, and this was roofed over as a protection 
against snow and rain. As at the pool of Siloam, the first 
comer was considered to get the best of it. Here he 
certainly got the cleanest of it. For all my men, notwith- 
standing the cold, quickly stripped and bathed in it, and 


drank deeply of its malodorous waters, and they invited 
me also to do likewise. But I contented myself with climb- 
ing up the hill a short distance to taste a smaller spring 
which there welled out, and which though not deemed 
sacred was uncontaminated and quite as hot. The water 
tasted of the usual sulphureous kind, and I collected some 
for chemical analysis. " The sides of the pool and the beds 
of the several issuing streams were encrusted with stringy 
white sulphury clots, and in this hot water, masses of a 
green confervoid growth waved from the stones. The tempe- 
rature of the hottest spring was 114.5 Fall., which is only 
about 2 higher than at Hooker's visit over forty years be- 
fore. 3l The contrast between the great heat of this water 
and the icy air (3 3. 5 Fah.), and the cold glacier water of 
the river, flowing amidst streaks of snow, with a temperature 
of 44 Fah., only a few feet distant, was most striking. 

This apparently supernatural character of the spring has, 
of course, overawed the Tibetans, who allege that the rock 
at this spring is the abode of a devil [Chab-dii) who causes 
disease if she be not conciliated. They also believe that the 
spring is hotter in the morning and colder during the day ; 
whereas it is only their subjective sensations that lead them 
to think so, as the difference between the temperature of 
the spring and the air at mid-day is less marked than in 
the colder morning air. I had considerable difficulty in 
getting my men away from this attractive spot. 

Above this, the valley presented a remarkably weird 
appearance, as most of the granite boulders, blackened by 


dark lichens, were covered by large patches of a bright 
scarlet fungus, the fiery aspect of which in such a snowy 
setting reminded one somewhat of the banks of that Hades- 
like lake at the top of the Geirangerfiord in Norway. And 
the splintered trees were transformed into fantastic ghostly 
shapes by masses of the long hoary lichen that streamed 
in the wind. 

A sudden bend of the river revealed the grazing-station 
of Yoomtang (11,650 ft.) with its herds of yaks and sheep. 
It is beautifully situated in an open meadow, through which 
the river winds with many a curve ; on every side are 
dark pine-clad slopes, leading up to magnificent snowy peaks, 
of which the chief is Phaloong. Several glaciers also were 
visible. I selected for my quarters one of the best of the 
empty log-huts, as most of the yak-herds had gone further 
down the valley ; and my men occupied the others. In one 
of the huts, in addition to the horns and skins of several 
deer and boars, said to have been killed in the neighbour- 
hood, I saw a fine pair of horns of the great " Sikhim " 
stag, so called, though it is not found within Sikhim at 
all, but only in Tibet, whence these horns had been 
brought. I shot here a few snow pigeons, and I sighted in 
the pine woods a few wary partridges and pheasants, but 
did not go after them. My Tibetan coolies were delighted 
to see a flock of the red-billed and red-legged crow (or 
properly, "chough"), which they said was the common crow 
of Tibet. The cold at night was intense, although there 
was no wind ; and at sunrise the thermometer registered 



3 Fah. of frost, while at 8 a.m. it was 36 Fah. and the 
water of the river 40 Fah. 

Next day I crossed the "Lachoong" river (here called 
Yoomtang after this village) by a rude log-bridge. Thence 
I ascended the eastern side of the valley for about a 


thousand feet, and over a terraced moraine, to the foot of 
the great glacier. This elevation, about 13,000 ft., is perhaps 
the lowest limit to which glaciers descend in this part of 
the Himalayas. On the northern slopes their position is 
much higher, and the glaciers themselves are larger even, 
although the rainfall on which glacialization depends is 
much less. The southern slopes seem too steep to allow of 


the ice forming a stream of great length. The ice falls into 
the lower valleys as avalanches from the fan-shaped slopes, 
and soons gets melted by the excessive rainfall. Here I shot 
a snow partridge [Lerva vivicold), a piping hare [Lagomys 
Roj'/ei), and the curious wingless water-thrush, the Dipper. 
Continuing up the valley for four miles, we re-crossed the 
river, and soon reached the upper limit of trees, about 
13,000 ft. Many logs were lying cut and trimmed into 
planks of a size that a yak could carry, ready for transport 
to Tibet, where timber is extremely scarce. Here we halted 
for a little, to carry up some smaller pieces for our own 
firewood. The river, now called the Riv-la, leaping over 
the rocks, here became a chain of foaming cataracts. 

The snowy mass of Phaloong towered above the other 
peaks ; and several glaciers came down its sides, as well 
as between the sharp-pointed black crags to its south. 
They were streaked with blue and green crevasses, and 
extended to within a few hundred feet of us. And it was 
noticeable that the valley had broadened out from the 
narrow V-shape of water-eroded valleys into the open U-shape, 
with rounded rocky surfaces, characteristic of glacier action. 
This configuration, however, may be in part owing to the 
very low dip of the rocks here ; for the dip of the gneiss in 
the low Teesta valley is very high, and, as Blanford notes, 
it is still considerable as far as Yoomtang; but hereabouts, 
where the gneiss is granitoid, with veins of pure granite, its 
dip is very low and almost horizontal ; and to the westward 
it dips at an angle rarely exceeding io° to 20 . 



Toiling slowly up the bare stony valley and over old 
moraines, with the snows and glaciers coming down nearer 
and nearer, the rarefied air began to tell sorely on us. Even 
the yaks and pony suffered severely from the mal de montagne. 
I suffered less than most of the party as I had been able 
to ride a great part of the way; but all the men who 
carried loads, and most of these were hardy Tibetans, were 


attacked more or less severely. All of us had splitting 
headaches, nausea, palpitation, and bloodshot eyes ; and we 
had to rest frequently by the way for the shortness of 
breath, and that sensation which is graphically described 
by Hooker as a feeling of " having a pound of lead on 
each knee-cap, two pounds in the pit of the stomach, and 
a hoop of iron around the head." I cannot explain why 
we were all so much more affected by the rarefied air of 
this place than by the much higher elevations of Tang-kar. 


As we plodded painfully on, several of our men bled pro- 
fusely at the nose. We were all in a sorry plight as we 
crossed the bridge, or Samdong, about the fourteenth mile, 
and struggled into the few bleak stone-huts of Momay 
(15,000 ft.). This is the highest grazing-station in Sikhim, 
and it is so inclement that it is only occupied for a few 
weeks during mid-summer by the hardy mountaineers. 

These deserted, weather-beaten huts are built of rough 
stone without any mortar, and through the numerous chinks 
quite an icy hurricane blew, so that I had to pitch my tent 
inside the hut, and even then it was bitterly cold. The flat 
roof consisted of a few rough-hewn pine logs, held down 
by big boulders. 

A few minutes after my arrival, Kintoop came to me 
with some alarm in his face, to say that the captain of the 
Tibetan guard of the pass (the Dong-kia) and his men were 
in this station, and they intended to prevent us proceeding 
any further. 

Whilst Kintoop was still speaking, several Tibetans arrived 
at the door of my hut, attending a fine-looking old man 
riding on a yak, and who proved to be the captain (or 
Ding-pon) of the guard. He dismounted and came forward, 
carrying a ceremonial scarf which he offered for my accept- 
ance ; and on my taking it he stated who he was, and 
asked if it were true what he had heard from my men 
that I intended going up to the Dong-kia pass. On learn- 
ing that such was my intention, he endeavoured to dissuade 
me from going, by alleging that not only was the weather 


up there terribly inclement, but that it was impossible to 
reach the pass now, as snow had fallen two days ago, and 
driven him and his men down; and certainly their faces 
with blood-shot eyes and blistered peeling skin looked as 
if they had been exposed to arctic weather. I found him 
quite reasonable and civil. He apologised for himself and 
his men being on the Sikhim side of the pass, and he said 
that of course I could go if I chose to the summit of that 
pass ; but that it was his duty to prevent me from going 
beyond that point into Tibetan territory. He maintained 
that the summit of the pass was the boundary, although 
I told him that the recent agreement with China had fixed 
the boundary at the watershed of the Lachen, some eight 
miles beyond the pass, to the north. Nor would he consent 
on any terms to allow me to cross this way into the Lachen 
valley, as Hooker had done in the reverse direction. He 
maintained, like the guard who also stopped Blanford at 
this pass, that his instructions from Lhasa were positive as 
to the absolute closure of this pass against everyone except 
a few privileged Tibetans ; and he added with much pan- 
tomime, the old story, that were we to force our way across, 
the throats of himself and his men would be cut. Under 
ordinary circumstances I would have felt much inclined to 
force my way over it into the Lachen valley, where it was 
so essential that I should arrive quickly, and I have no 
doubt that I could have done it ; but unfortunately political 
negotiations were going on just then with the Chinese in 

regard to this very boundary, and the promise had been 



extracted from me not to cross this frontier, so as to risk 
any undue complications in this settlement. I therefore had 
to forego the attempt, and consent to go no further than 
the summit of the pass. 

This Tibetan captain turned out to be a very interesting 
old man. He had attended the Tibetan governor or Jong- 
pon, who had met Mr. Macaulay's mission, and he is figured 
in the photograph of that group, a copy of which I 
shewed him. He had also been fighting against us in our 
little war with Tibet, the previous year, in command of a 
small body of Tibetans, and he had there imbibed a whole- 
some fear of our firearms. In referring to his experiences 
on that occasion, he lost all his Mongolian stolidity and 
grew quite excited, as he recounted to the awe-stricken 
bystanders how our quick-firing rifles could fire " about a 
dozen" shots without reloading, whilst the Tibetans took 
about five minutes to reload their wretched muzzle-loading 
flint-lock muskets, and then as often as not the flint missed 

My shot-gun interested him greatly. He handled it 
lovingly, and as he looked down the barrels, he exclaimed 
in astonishment, " Why, it shines clear like a mirror ! " — and 
certainly it was even in this respect, a contrast to their own 
dirty barrels, deeply honeycombed as they were with rust. 
But it was my revolver, with its quick-repeating mechanism, 
that interested him most, as this was a special weapon of 
war. I had not brought my rifle, on account of its weight, 
and the few chances I expected of using it. He asked me 


to show its working by firing at some of his straggling 
sheep. I could not consent, of course, to such butchery, 
so fired instead a quick succession of shots into some 
logs of wood, and scarcely had the sharp pinging of the 
whistling bullets rung out, than the old man scampered off 
in hot haste, to see how deeply the bullets had penetrated. 
My hunting-knife and a few other appliances were also 
examined with eager curiosity. He presented me with a 
sheep, one of a flock he was sending to Darjeeling for sale. 
Tibetan mutton, though small, is not to be excelled for 
nutty sweetness. 

At Kintoop's suggestion I offered him a little of my 
scanty store of whiskey, which I had brought with me in 
case of accident; for tea and soup were the only restora- 
tives I ordinarily took at these altitudes, as I had found that 
spirit acted almost as poison, it so exaggerated the breath- 
lessness and palpitation. He promptly produced his drinking 
cup from his breast pocket, and he drank the spirit with 
immense relish, to the dregs ; though he magnanimously 
pretended to leave a little in the cup for his men, who 
passed the empty cup round from hand to hand, and each 
of them licked it more than clean, with so much smacking 
of lips and rueful countenances, that I took pity on them 
and poured a little more of this precious liquor into the 
cup for them. But the captain again took the lion's share, 
for, naively explained he, it was not etiquette for his men 
to drink until after him. 

Tibetans seldom taste spirits in their own country. Their 


usual alcoholic drink is the sour beer that is made from 
fermented barley and strained off from the seeds into 
vessels, and drunk cold, not hot, like the murwa of Sikhim. 
Jaesche says (in his dictionary) that spirit or arak is distilled 
in monasteries, and in the houses of the big men in Tibet ; 
but this I am assured is not frequent in Central Tibet 
nor in Tsang, where spirit is very seldom drunk except by 
the Chinese, — and when the Tibetans specially require it, 
they usually buy it from the Chinese. The sour beer is served 
up to grandees at feasts, in the horns of the wild yak, 
{Dong) like the Urus horns which the ancient Germans used 
as cups for their strong drink, according to Caesar. And 
these horns are mounted in silver or brass and slung over 
the shoulder when travelling. The Bhotanese use for this 
purpose the horn of the great wild ox, or mithan [Bos 

How very different are these Tibetans from the Lepchas, 
and even from their kinsmen the Sikhimese Bhotiyas 1 Yet 
the Tibetan too has had his character shaped largely by his 
environments. Though of the same Mongolian descent, he is in 
many respects almost the anti-type of the Lepcha. His rugged, 
wind-swept country has given him a rugged character and 
features. His cold, bracing climate and full animal diet has 
given him a robust body full of rude blustering animalism, 
that tends to make him when uncontrolled a turbulent 
bully, with all the fierceness of spirit which his European 
name of Tartar [Tartaros, hell) suggests. The disastrous 
storms and avalanches that wreck his herds and scanty 


crops, have caused him to worship these as destructive malig- 
nant devils, and his awestruck mind, thus dominated by the 
supernatural forces, has become intensely superstitious and 
religious. Whilst the isolation of his country by protecting 
and perpetuating his numerous and jealous hierarchy, has 
made him the most priest-ridden mortal in the world. But 
many of them, especially the better class of monks, I have 
found to be most kind and considerate, and deeply imbued 
with a tolerant spirit, due doubtless to education and 
temperament, and partly also derived from the Buddhism 
which permeates their religion. As a class, they cannot be 
said to be broad-minded, although living on broad table- 
lands, in the free mountain air. They are not naturalists, 
nor even skilful sportsmen, being forbidden to take life by 
their priests. 

The presence of these Tibetan officials cowed my men 
into uncommunicativeness. The latter spoke of the diabolical 
tortures that would be inflicted on them as informers, by 
the Tibetan Government, which they said seized even people 
in Sikhim and carried them off to Tibet for punishment. 
There they do not indulge in the luxury of jails, for when 
they do not kill their prisoners right away, or put them to 
a slow death by torture, as, although professing Buddhists, 
they do not hesitate to do, they simply cut off their ears 
or chop off a hand or foot, and set the mutilated person 
free. Such mutilated criminals form the majority of the 
beggars, I am told, in Lhasa and other large Tibetan towns. 

In particular, my guide, the owner of the pony, was 


especially reticent, and he now tried to run away with his 
pony, but was caught and brought back by one of my 
men. And to secure his presence, or rather that of his pony, 
I gave the latter into the charge of one of my men, and 
locked away his saddle and harness. 

As it was now clear that, for political reasons, I could 
not force my way beyond the Dong-kia pass, my only way 
of getting to the glaciers of Kanchen-junga was to try to 
get over into the Lachen valley by the knife-edge of the 
Seeboo La, or "Pass of Frozen Hailstones", which led into 
the Lachen valley. And to facilitate our journey thither, 
on our return from the Dong-kia on the morrow, I took 
Kintoop and two of my men in the afternoon to explore 
the entrance of the Seeboo, the passage of which seemed 
not hitherto to have been made by any European. 

Crossing an icy torrent on boulders, under the rounded 
heavily snowed flanks of Kanchen-jow, or "The Great Beard- 
ed Glacier" (22,550 ft.), and below the glacier of Phaloong, 
we went up the wild stony valley of Seeboo for about 
three miles, and over the moraine and small glacier noted 
by Blanford, to a barren rocky plateau with a few icy 
lakelets, above which towered great piles of rocks leading 
up to the pass. 

The utter desolation of this region was very impressive 
The stony waste, bare of all vegetation owing to the keen 
winds, and buried in snow for eight or nine months of the 
year, stretched right up to the snow-covered slopes which, 
rising a few hundred feet above us, surrounded us with a 



circle of glittering icy spires and domes, all over 20,000 feet 
high. It was indeed "The Abode of Snow", the true Hima- 
laya at last. The root of this word is the same which 
appears in the Greek Imaus, and the German Himmel, the 
Aryan "heaven"; for these snowy regions are the highest 


" /ieaven-up " part of the world, and therefore nearest to 
the abode of the gods. 

So stern, sombre, and solitary was this scene, that we 
seemed to have passed into a valley of distress, if not of 
death. The recent frost had killed even the insects, and 
besides ourselves there was no trace of any living thing, 
animal or vegetable. The solitude was unbroken, save by 
the sighing of the wind, and the subdued gurgle of the 


river, which too had lost its colour under the leaden sky, 
and ran swiftly dull, scarcely disturbing the universal calm 
which rested over all. The loneliness and fixed gloom 
were indescribable. Plato perhaps rightly said that " whoso- 
ever is delighted with solitude, entirely and absolutely, is 
either a wild beast or a god." And it is easy to see how 
the Tibetans, who place their gods in such regions, picture 
them with sullen savage features, hurling avalanches and 
thunderbolts, and other death-dealing weapons. Just so 
have the Scandinavians deified the more sublime and 
terrible aspects of nature. So their Odin and Thor fight 
with the thunderbolt, so they have their frost-giants of the 
Jottenheim, and their wind-giants of the Muspelheim and 
Nifelheim. These anthropomorphic gods are thus evidently 
deified natural forces, and so far support Professor Max 
Miiller in his contention that mythology in its origin was 
physical, whatever it may have become in its later develop- 

We did not find the hot springs of this pass, having no 
one to guide us. These, I was told, received more worship 
than those we visited the previous day, as they are the reputed 
abode of the powerful demon of the Phaloong glacier, who 
is called " His Lordship the Long-lived Devil." M 

Returning to bleak Momay, also desolate in appearance, 
I saw four sleek ravens, and got specimens of that gor- 
geously blue-plumaged bird, Grandula ccelicolor. My men 
reported having seen some of the wild sheep, "Burhel" 
{Ovis natiird). One of these was shot hereabouts by Elwes, 



who accompanied Blanford, and in regard to which the 
latter writes : " We subsequently found that the ' Ovis 
ammon ' of which we heard so much, were all Burhel ; and 
Hooker, I think, must have been mistaken in supposing 
that he saw the former in this neighbourhood, for, by the 
unanimous evidence of all the Tibetans, none occur to the 
south of the Dong-kia and Kongra-Lamo passes, although 
they are to be met with a little further north, in Tibet." 

I also saw some tail-less rats or marmots. These small 
mammals called Goomcher by the Bhotiyas, are credited with 
supernatural powers, in that, if they are harmed in any way, 
they produce fearful and disastrous storms. This belief is 
evidently due. I think, to the habits of these animals 
burrowing into the bowels of the earth, where live, accord- 
ing to the Tibetans, the dragon-spirits or Nagas that 
cause thunder-storms. Owing to this superstition few na- 
tives will assist you in catching the animal, yet they do 
not scruple to rob it of its hoards of stored grass and 
grain whenever they are in need of fuel or fodder. I 
secured a beautiful silvery water-shrew {Nectrogale elegans), 
so unique and rare that no perfect specimen of it was 
hitherto known. In the icy cold river I could find no trace 
of life, but about 2,000 feet lower down I had seen some 
tadpoles and fish. 

Plants, however, were not absent on the hill sides, in the 
crevices between the stones ; but they were almost entirely 
the remains of flowering plants, and but very few grasses, 
ferns and other monocotyledons. Mr. Ball observed this 


peculiarity in the vegetation of high altitudes in Europe, 
and on this fact is based the belief that flowering plants 
or dicotyledons originated in the dry and rarefied atmos- 
phere of elevated plateaus and mountains. This too would 
explain the absence of well-developed Exogens in the 
tropical coal-period, and their late and sudden appearance 
in the cooler times of the cretaceous period, when the 
flowering plants descended from their high altitudes, where 
the evidence of their early existence at this remote period 
of geological time has been destroyed by denudation of 
the uplands. Dwarf bamboos, which are grasses, crop up 
on the hot damp southern sides of peaks as high as 12,000 
feet. The especial prevalence of this rich variety of flowers, 
especially of primroses and pedicidaris, on the southern 
slopes of the Himalayas is remarkable, and cannot be simply 
accounted for on the hypothesis of a migration from the 
north during the glacial epoch. In Europe, too, " some of 
the most ancient fragments of the Alpine flora are now to 
be found only on the southern side of the Alps," as M. 
de Candolle has shown. 33 

The whitish colour of the flowers in these Alpine regions 
is also remarkable. Many of the flowers which lower down 
are blue are here apparently white, but they become blue 
on pressing. This fact, together with the excessive thickness 
of their petals, shews that the blue pigment is still there, 
and that the white colour is due to the air that inflates 
the interstices of their tissue. 

The temperature of the air at 5 p.m. was 30.8 Fah., and 


before sunset went down to 2 8° Fah., and snow began to 
fall in a disquieting way, suggesting the possibility of the 
valley becoming blocked, as happened during Mr. Macaulay's 
visit to the lower valley, when deep snow stretched down 
to below Yoomtang. 

We all passed a wretched night, owing to the intense 
cold, and partly to our sudden rise in the rarefied air. My 
warmest woollen clothes with my sheepskin-coat over all 
failed to keep me from shivering in the painfully piercing 
cold wind ; while the weight of the clothes further oppress- 
ed my breathing. I do not believe my heart is a bad 
one, but it now palpitated so violently as to shake my 
whole body, yet so slowly as not to exceed 45 beats 
per minute, and at times it seemed as if about to cease 
altogether. Yet on the slightest exertion, in walking up 
hill, the beats went up to too or no. These alarming 
symptoms would no doubt have lessened, and the heart 
become accommodated in some measure to the altered 
pressure and thin air, had we remained long enough at 
that altitude. But even when Hooker had remained in 
these regions and at higher elevations for some months, 
he says "he never knew what it was to go a few miles 
outside his tent without feeling great pressure, and he 
always returned to camp with nausea." And he experienced 
the same feelings at lofty elevations in Africa and Europe, 
as well as in the Himalayas. Even Mr. Graham who suf- 
fered so little from the high elevations in Sikhim complained 
of the "very loud and perceptible beating of the heart". 


To find the effect of these high elevations on our circula- 
tion, I had been carefully recording not only my own 
pulse-beats and respirations, but also those of Kintoop and 
several selected coolies, at various stages on the way up 
from Darjeeling, but the results are not sufficiently decided 
to be worth detailing. They showed remarkably little 
difference from the normal, even in the highest altitudes, 
when the men were at rest. The reduced frequency of 
the pulse-beats in the higher altitudes was not marked 
in all, and seemed due in part to the excessive work 
thrown on the heart by the intense cold. As Freshfield and 
Hooker have suggested, the breathlessness and the attend- 
ant discomfort of mountain sickness is somewhat comparable 
to sea-sickness, and those persons who are affected more 
than others need not necessarily have a diseased stomach 
or heart. 

In the morning, as the snow had ceased, and it lay 
only about a foot deep, we decided to push on to the 
pass. But as the thermometer at sunrise registered 8° of 
frost, or 24 Fah., it was some time ere my shrivelled-up 
men were ready for starting. The Tibetan soldiers fortified 
themselves against the cold with bits of frozen raw meat, 
like Laplanders, which they shredded up with their daggers. 
No wind, fortunately, was then blowing, or it would have 
been dangerously keen. 

The track was marked out by mounds of stones, and 
led across the river to the left bank, and re-crossed 
about the sixth mile, at a spot called Jarwa (17,000 feet 


elevation), near which are two small lakes. The Tibetan 
captain and his men accompanied us, and as his yak clam- 
bered nimbly over the snow-laden stones, far outdistancing 
my pony, which slid and stumbled so badly that I could 
make little use of it, he kindly offered me the use of his 
yak. It, however, refused to let me mount, and made several 
plunges at me as I approached it, although held back 
by the rope through its nose-ring. And I was not sorry 
that I had failed to mount it, for some time afterwards the 
tackle of ropes that fastened on the rough saddle loosened, 
and the captain came down from his high perch with a 
rush, and on the top of him came all his cooking-pots and 
pans, which were carried in two bags slung on behind 
the saddle. 

Some large footprints in the snow led across our track, 
and away up to the higher peaks. These were alleged to 
be the trail of the hairy wild men who are believed to 
live amongst the eternal snows, along with the mythical 
white lions, whose roar is reputed to be heard during storms. 
The belief in these creatures is universal among Tibetans. 
None, however, of the many Tibetans I have interrogated 
on this subject could ever give me an authentic case. On 
the most superficial investigation it always resolved itself 
into something that somebody heard tell of. These so- 
called hairy wild men are evidently the great yellow snow- 
bear (Ursus isabellinns), which is highly carnivorous, and 
often kills yaks. Yet, although most of the Tibetans know 
this bear sufficiently to give it a wide berth, they live in 


such an atmosphere of superstition that they are always 
ready to find extraordinary and supernatural explanations 
of uncommon events. Looking at these footprints, I thought 
of the poor snow-bears pent up in the sweltering heat of 
the Calcutta "Zoo", and what they would not give to get 
into such arctic regions. 

Snow now fell heavily, and a driving hurricane of loose 
powdery snow was fast obliterating our footmarks, so that, as 
Kintoop pointed out, there was a great danger of our losing 
our way and sharing the fate which hereabout befel his 
former master, the late Captain Harman, in 1881. This 
unfortunate officer was employed in the survey of Sikhim, 
and on ascending this pass, he saw in the distance, the 
great snowy range of Tibetan peaks as seen by Hooker 
and Blanford, and extending, as he estimated, 150 miles 
from east to west. To examine them more in detail he 
bivouacked on the spot, but, as his baggage-coolies did 
not turn up, he was fatally frost-bitten. 34 

We now found that the snow-storm had increased ; the 
wind rose furiously, and a whirlwind of fine snow, blinding 
and choking us, drove us down, when almost within sight of 
the top of the pass. Then I realized more emphatically than 
before, that Sherwill and Blanford had advised too late a 
date of starting; that I had started over a month too late 
in the season ; and that to reach these northern passes 
and have time for their leisurely exploration, one must 
endure the discomforts of travelling in the rainy season. 

The scene that bursts upon the eye from the crest of 


this pass (18,100 ft.), has been described and figured by 
Sir Joseph Hooker. Mr. Blanford says, "it is one of the 
most remarkable landscapes in the world, and alone worth 
the journey to see it. . . . Cholamo lake is in front, beneath 
the feet of the spectator, beyond is a desert with rounded 
hills. Further away range after range of mountains, some 
of them covered with snow, extend to a distance the eye 
cannot appreciate. The total change of colour and form 
from the valleys of Sikhim, the utter barrenness, the intense 
clearness of the atmosphere, produce such an effect as if 
one were gazing upon another world in which the order 
of this is no longer preserved, where a tropical desert is 
seen amongst snow-capped peaks, beneath the unnaturally 
clear atmosphere of the arctic regions." 35 

The game and skins which Mr. Blanford procured from 
the Tibetan side of this pass through the Tibetan guards, 
included three perfectly fresh skins, one of the Tibetan 
gazelle (Gazella picticauda; in Tibetan — God or Ra-gao) the 
others of Ovis Amnion, a ewe and a young ram, and some live 
Tibetan sand-grouse. He was told that both Ovis Amnion 
and Ovis natura are pretty common in the country north of 
Sikhim, the Goa Antelope is less so ; Tibetan antelope 
fC/iiru', the Kemas Hodgsoni) are never heard of in that 
neighbourhood ; and the wild yak is not found there now. 

The name of this pass, I find, means "The Frozen Wild 

Yak", and a legend was related to me of a herd of wild 

yak (Dong) that had strayed here, and were found frozen 

to death in this pass, which thus obtained its name. 



The old Ding-pon and his guard of the pass seemed 
unfeignedly glad at our being driven down by the snow- 
storm, and they were still more so when, on our return to 
Momay, as the storm showed no signs of abating, we had 
to give up our proposed attempt to cross the Se-boo, and 
to retreat further down to Yoomtang. The Ding-pon also 
accompanied us here, on the plea of having some business 
with the Lachoong villagers in regard to the transport of 
wood and sheep, etc.; but it was probably to see us off 
his frontier, and make sure that we did not give him the slip. 

On the way to Lachoong next day, I followed up the 
fine glacier valley of the Si-bo 36 or "Cold" river for 
some way towards the Gora or " Top-of-the-Wall " pass, so 
called from its excessive steepness. No European seems 
to have been up this valley before : and as I had heard 
that this pass, which leads into Tibet between the Dong-kia 
and the Tang-kar passes, was seldom used and never guarded, 
and I was arranging to make an expedition to Lhasa in 
disguise, I had sent Kintoop during the summer to recon- 
noitre and explore this pass and the country beyond it in 
a north-easterly direction, keeping above the inhabited part 
of Choombi, until he struck the trade route from that province 
to Central Tibet, on the great plateau to the north of the 
Tang pass. 

As this line of country has not been surveyed, and even 
the position of the Gora pass is wrongly placed on the 
maps, I give here some details of Kintoop's pioneer survey, 
and a sketch of his route (see large map), as plotted out 


by me from his narrative. His directions may be taken as 
generally approximate, as I had supplied him with a com- 
pass ; the distances in miles, however, are less correct ; but 
he and his party certainly penetrated to a distance of 
seven days ' hard march in Tibet, and marched beyond the 
Sikhimese frontier for thirteen days. There is no doubt 
as to his having reached the Tibetan plateau, for he brought 
back several plants which are peculiar to the dry table- 
lands of Central Asia. 

Crossing the Lachoong river, i 3 / 4 miles above the 
village of that name, and about 300 yards above the 
junction of that river with the Si-bo, and following up the 
latter, it was found to rise rapidly after its third mile to 
about the seventh mile, where, at the upper limit of trees, 
it turned eastward to the foot of a great glacier, one of the 
sources of this river. The freezing torrent, which spouted 
from an ice-cave in this glacier, and which was 50 yards 
wide and waist deep at that time in June, had to be forded. 
A yak-herdsman here, from whom Kintoop asked the way 
to the Gora pass, declared that they were all forbidden 
by the Tibetans to give any information as to the passes 
into Tibet, and he bolted off. The river above this flowed 
between the terraces of a great lateral moraine for about 
five miles, above which it divided into two headwaters. 
The southern of these led to the Pata pass, expanding 
into two lakes, each about three-quarters of a mile in length ; 
and into the bright green water of the uppermost of these, 
just below the summit of the pass, the snow was falling in 


avalanches in June. This pass, which is not marked in 
any map, nor its lakes, lies about 5 miles south of Tang- 
kar pass, according to a herd-girl whom Kintoop met. 
It was not then open, but it was occasionally used 
by the people of that valley; whereas the Gora, on 
account of its steepness, was very seldom if ever used. 
The northern branch of the river which came down 
from the Gora pass was found to lead up to a grazing- 
station, where many dead yaks were seen lying around. 
A murrain had carried off about 80 per cent of the cattle. 
This disease, called Yor or Hlak-po, seems to be rinder- 
pest. It had visited these parts several times before, and 
is also known in Tibet, where it also attacks the wild yaks. v 
It was believed to be imported from India, through lower 
Sikhim. Here again, the herdsmen refused to give any in- 
formation as to the passes, even when Kintoop said that 
he wanted to go up to worship the mountain. So he fol- 
lowed up the stream, which widened out into a limpid 
lake. The ascent to the pass beyond was excessively steep, 
and so precipitous as to be quite impracticable for cattle. 
The summit, about 17,000 feet elevation, commanded an 
extensive view of snowy peaks. Thence proceeding north-east- 
wards, across Upper Choombi, Kintoop and his companions 
had to go a little southwards to circumvent some great cliffs 
that rose over 4,000 feet high, and they had to cross tor- 
rents and spurs, till they sighted the uppermost village in 
Western Choombi. Then they ascended that valley of the 
Rido river, northwards, and crossed the water-parting into 


the great plain of Central Tibet. Here they followed down 
a stream which flowed north-westwards into a considerable 
lake, on the northern bank of which was a compact village 
of about twelve houses. On sighting this they hid away 
amongst rocks, but were discovered by some huge Tibetan 
mastiffs, whose loud barking at them attracted the attention 
of the villagers. The headman of the village recognizing 
them as Sikhimese, although they wore Tibetan dress, and 
suspecting them to be spies, seized them ; and stripping 
them of the best part of their clothes, imprisoned them in 
his house, saying that he must carry them off to Phari 
in a few days, for such were his orders in regard to people 
entering from Sikhim. The name of this village was Kala- 
pak-tang; and Kintoop says that this lake resembled the 
Kala-tso, which he had passed several times on the way 
to Gyantse and Lhasa. The Kala-tso of Boyle and Turner, 
however, would appear to be some ten miles or so to the 
N. E. of this lake. During the night, Kintoop and his party 
effected their escape and fled back again by the way they 
had come over the Gora pass. 

The following day (28th October) I returned past Kedoom, 
with its sad memories, to Choong-tang at the bottom of 
the Lachoong valley. The great and rapid changes in the 
foliage which had occurred during our fortnight's sojourn in 
the valley, showed that the brief flash of Alpine summer 
was already over. The leaves had turned to russet and 
orange in a few days, and soon they will be swept off by 
the whirlwind, and winter will have come. 



By fairy Lachen's forest green, 
And boiling Zemoo's silver sheen, 
Travelled till they the torrent crossed 
At Tallinn Samdong hard in frost 
And Tungu deep in snow. 

Down Kongra-lamo's snowy waste 
The Yaks with stately movement paced, 
And five score swordsmen's weapons glanced 
As Kamba's chieftain grave advanced 
The mystic Chorten past. 

C. Macaulay's Lay of Lachen. 

BACK at Choong-tang, we were glad to accept the young 
Lama's invitation to put up in his monastery. It commanded 
a view up the Lachen valley, which was here evergreen 
with semi-tropical forest, though over-topped by snowy 
peaks. The animals in the upper valley were found by 
Mr. Blanford to be more thoroughly Tibetan than in the 
Lachoong. This is doubtless owing to the pass from Tibet 
being much less high and rigorous. 

The broken bridges and ladders, however, still barred all 


progress up this precipitous valley, as they did at the time 
of Maeaulay's political mission in 1884. The latter's visit 
was even still later in the season than our own, so that 
after the bridges were repaired at great cost, and after 
some days' detention, that party just managed to push on 
to Giagong (15,764 ft.) at the foot of the Kongra-lamo 
pass to Tibet, and then had to beat a hasty retreat before 
the advancing snow. 

This mission of the late Colman Macaulay I have already 
referred to. Its leader achieved the diplomatic feat of 
opening communication between India and the Tibetan 
government, for the first time since the days of Warren 
Hastings, over a hundred years before. He has related 
the circumstances of his journey up this valley, and his 
meeting with the Tibetan officials, in his Lay of Lachen ; 
and how he was benighted in the snow at the foot of 
the icy Chomiomo (22,385 feet) and Kanchen-jow, whose 
eastern slopes we had just crossed. 

His ballad tells how 

The moon to nearly full had grown 
Ere they the frontier cold and lone 
Did reach, where wind-swept Giagong 
Lies white and chill and drear 
'Twixt Kanchen-jow and Chomiom. 
No man or beast may make his home 
That barren snowfield near. 

The day was waning, and the crest 
Of Chomiomo paler grew, 
As sank the sun into the west 
And ever lengthening shadows threw 
The giant's hoar between. 


The north wind sharp and sharper blew, 
The frost was piercing keen ; 

Night followed day, but still no sound 
Was heard the silent snow drift round 
Of coming footsteps, and no light 
Of lantern or of torch did peer 
Across the waste of gleaming white 
To say that help was near. 

At length that awful night was past, 

No more they shuddered 'neath the blast; 

The morning smiled across the wild, 

And the tentsmen followed fast, 

As Kamba's chieftain grave advanced 

The mystic chorten past. 

And in Macaulay's tent that day, 
In high durbar and bright array, 
With welcome glad and presents fair 
Was Bengal's greeting told. 

But this Tibetan official, the Jong-pirn or Commander 
of the adjoining fort of Kamba, was not to be readily 
coerced. He stoutly refused to receive any official message 
whatever, on the plea that he had no orders to do so. 
Mr. M. achieved his object by making capital out of the 
fact that the Tibetan had no orders not to receive any 
communication, and by further declaring that if the Jong- 
pon refused to receive his message he would himself go 
on to the capital, Tashi-lunpo, to deliver the message in 
person. This last alternative was too dreadful for the 
Tibetan to contemplate, so he agreed to receive the com- 
munication, and it was duly delivered ; for a friendly reply 


was received from the chief minister of Western Tibet a 
few months later. 

Now, however, restrained as we were by the broken 
bridges and ladders, we could but look wistfully up the 
dark vistas of this Lachen valley, so graphically described 
by Hooker and Blanford, trusting to be able the following 
year to accomplish our projected journey through it 
to the unexplored Zemoo glaciers, thence over the 
eastern glaciers of Kanchen-junga, and back by rocky 

This journey was done two seasons later by the political 
agent, Mr. White, who commanded the resources of the 
Sikhim State for opening the roads and building the 
bridges. He went in the reverse direction, entering by To- 
loong and returning this way; and he was accompanied 
by Mr. T. Hoffmann, to whom I am indebted for the 
beautiful photographs of the glaciers and other scenery 
en route, never visited by Europeans before. Starting at 
the end of June 1891, they experienced intervals of fine 
clear weather whilst traversing the glaciers in the middle 
of July. 

The too brief narrative of this interesting journey, writ- 
ten by Mr. Hoffmann, :,s tells of their passage from To-loong 
to the Zemoo valley (the "Thlonok" of Hooker) with its 
great glacier, which descends from Kanchen-junga. He 
writes: "After a hard climb we reached the base of the 
glacier at a height of 13,800 ft. Here we counted four 
distinct caves in the ice. The face of the ice-cliff at the 



end of the glacier is about 400 to 500 ft. deep, and the 
immense mass of ice rested between the two slopes of the 
valley. ... It was too dangerous to remain here long on 
account of the huge stones that were continually falling 
from the glacier. We crossed over one of the snow-bridges 
to the opposite bank, getting some excellent photographs 
of these curiosities of nature's architecture." Ascending the 

glacier and its surmount- 
ing debris to an elevation 
of 16,000 ft, "the mist 
cleared away for a short 
time, and we saw one 
of the finest-shaped peaks 
in the Himalayas, marked 
on the map D 2 , or Simiol- 
chum." Continuing their 
ascent to 17,000 ft., they 
started the following day 
peak d . it £ cross the glacier, 

intending to strike a rock not far from the foot of 
Kanchen-junga. The glacier descends from Kanchen-junga 
almost in a straight line, and is fed by many minor 
glaciers coming down from D 2 and the peak to the north 
of it. We counted a dozen glaciers on one occasion, 
joining the main glacier. We reached a height of 17,500 ft. 
To the south-west was a gap in the range of 19,300 ft. 
The rock we had hoped to reach was still a long way 
off at 2 p.m., and we reluctantly turned back to camp. 


The rumbling noise of the avalanches and the crashing of 
falling rocks never cease, and it is dangerous to camp here, 
near the base of a mountain. The next day dawned glo- 
riously. For the first time we obtained a view clear from 
all clouds and mist." Kanchen towered high to the west. 
"To the south Sim-vovon-chum (D 1 ) looked like a burnt- 


out crater filled with snow. Then came a 17,450 ft. gap 
in the range, with a wavy snowfield and a magnificent 
group of splintered peaks, not named on the maps. . . . 
Before leaving this neighbourhood we visited a narrow 
valley to the north-east of Kanchen-junga. We counted here 
eight glaciers coming down from the different slopes, some 


joining the main glacier, and others ending abruptly, forming 
a jagged wall of ice. The rays of the sun caused the 
masses of ice to act like huge prisms, reflecting the most 
gorgeous colours." Mr. White then followed up the Lanok 
(" Thlonok "J valley northwards to the Nakoo pass (1 7,000 ft.), 
and back by the Nangna pass (17,590 ft.). 




In returning from Choong-tang to the capital, Toom- 
long, I came across some Bhotiyas making elaborate pre- 
parations for a hot bath, on the bank of a stream. They 
had burned out a piece of the trunk of a tree into a sort 
of tub, and filling it with water, they heated up the latter 
by throwing into it some stones which they had roasted in 
a bonfire ; and they emerged from their ablutions with 
marked improvement to their complexions. So who will 
now say that the Bhotiyas never bathe ? After all, these 
Bhotiyas and Tibetans have perhaps no constitutional 
distaste for cleanliness; but with the thermometer near, 
or below zero, and Boreas blowing keenly, even the 
most constant bather is apt to desert allegiance to 
his tub. 

The number of snakes I found on our track was sur- 
prisingly large, though this may have been partly owing 


to my having been specially on the outlook for them, 
ever since I had been bitten by one some years previously. 
Here no fewer than twelve different species found their 
last home in my spirit-bottle. Many of them were not 
poisonous, and the most common were slender iridescent 
whip-snakes, gliding gracefully through the foliage, and 
several species of brightly coloured, large eyed, " keel- 
scaled" snakes, or Tropidonotus. The poisonous ones were 
a huge blue " krait " (Bungarns ccsruhcs), that was sunning 
itself on a rock, and the ugly little mountain viper (Trime- 
surus monticola) which the Bhotiyas call " The Fierce Slow- 
going One" f tl Barop-skep-pa"), a title that aptly de- 
scribes its character; for though, like most vipers, it can 
only move very slowly out of your path, it bites with the 
utmost swiftness and fierceness. Both Lepchas and Bhotiyas 
have a wholesome fear of snakes, and believe that all of 
them are poisonous, a very safe-working theory. Such 
gorgeous spiders too, I had never seen before. They were 
resplendent in brilliant scarlet and metallic blue, and of 
giant size, about four to six inches in spread ; and their 
webs so large and strong as to catch small birds, on 
which some of them feed. Few of these spiders have ever 
been collected, and many looked as if they would be nasty 
venomous customers to tackle. The number of small locusts 
was noticeable, and some of them mimicked green leaves. 
Our food was now at a very low ebb, and had to be 
eked out largely by what I could shoot for the pot, not 
even rejecting plump parrots. The men stayed their hunger 


to some extent with wild berries and others things they 
foraged in the jungle, such as the tender tips of juicy ferns, 
nettles, etc., boiled as spinach; wild yams and other roots; 
mushrooms and several fruits, including wild mangoes, and 
when near a village, oranges ad libitum, for this is near 
the home of the orange, whence it spread west to southern 
Europe. But I had to be on my guard against some of 
the jungle products which my Bhotiya cook brought during 
Achoom's absence. For I found him about to cook some 
pods of beans, which I at once recognised as poisonous, and 
belonging to a kind of laburnum. 

At one of the poor hamlets which we passed, a 
Bhotiya offered me a domestic fowl for twelve times the 
ordinary rate, and he would not abate the price one whit; 
" for," said he, with the air of a political economist who 
had studied the laws of supply and demand, "this is 
positively the last fowl left in this part of Sikhim," as 
the troops of the recent expedition had eaten up all the 
fowls and put an end to the local breed. This, I ascer- 
tained afterwards, was true, and there was probably not 
another fowl within five or six days' journey, and very few 
for much longer distances. 

From Toomlong we descended to our old friend the 

Dik-chu river, and crossing it by a good bridge, we struck 

the new bridle-road, where my pony was in waiting; and 

then I proceeded comfortably, winding through pleasant 

glades and glens with picturesque views over the Penlong 

pass (6,250 ft.), to Gangtok, or "The Crown of the Ridge" 



(5,090 ft.), where our new Resident, Mr. White, was creating 
an oasis of civilization in the wilds of Sikhim. 

Here there burst on the view a tennis-court, rows of 
trim huts that housed a small force of our soldiers and 
police, and other signs of a British settlement, including 
a newly opened telegraph-station that connects us again 
with the outer world. Its wire, however, was, as yet, only 
tied from tree to tree through the forest. I got a welcome 
budget of letters, and tasted again some bread, an article 
of diet that is not sufficiently appreciated until you have 
been deprived of it for some weeks. Another sign of 
civilization we met here, in the heart of Sikhim, was the 
Indian money-lender usurer, the scourge of the poor natives, 
the pink-turbaned Marwari, who has come under the 
wing of our rule. 

Next day we crossed over more hills and dales to "The 
Bamboo Hamlet", or Pakyong, wheret here was a stockade 
held by some of our troops (the 13th Bengal Infantry). 
It was full of life and bustle, the band was playing, and 
English ladies graced it with their presence. 

Beyond this, we passed another copper mine, on our 
way down the Rarhi river. This, like the others, is worked 
by the rich Nepalese (or more properly Newar) banker of 
Darjeeling, Lachmi Das ; and here a place was pointed out 
to me where, in a squabble over the revenue from these 
mines, the Lamas of the rival monasteries of Phodang and 
Pemionchi had a pitched battle in 1880, and one at least 
of the monks of the latter monastery was killed on the spot. 


Large numbers of Nepalese colonists were busily felling 
and burning the virgin forest, to form settlements, in ac- 
cordance with our new policy of developing the resources 
of the country, and raising revenue for improvements, by 
leasing out the land on easy terms to the Hindooized 
Nepalese. For these latter make an excellent settled 
peasantry, as compared with the easy-going Lepchas and 
Rhotiyas, who are neither good cultivators, nor yet do they 
pay any revenue worth mentioning in cash. To preserve 
these aboriginal Lepchas, and the nominal ruling race, the 
Bhotiyas, from being swept away altogether by these 
active Nepalese emigrants, the latter are at present restricted 
to the lower and most fertile part of native Sikhim, ad- 
joining the district of Darjeeling. In the unreserved portion, 
the racial distribution corresponds to some extent with the 
geological formations ; for the Lepchas down in the hot 
valley coincide generally with the limestones and schist 
rocks, while the Bhotiyas occupy the massive gneiss and 

In a placid pool in the Rarhi some fine large fish were 
rising in a most tempting manner. Thence past some 
silvery-barked giant Gurjun trees (Dipterocarpus sp.J, we 
entered British Bhotan and climbed under the old Bhotan- 
ese fort of Damsang, perched on its knife-edge cliff, up to 
Pedong (4,780 ft.), situated on the grand trunk road to 
Tibet and China. 

Here we found the staging-house occupied by some of 
the suite of the Chinese Minister of Lhasa, the Amluvi, 


who was returning to Pekin via Lhasa to get his negotia- 
tions with the Indian Government ratified. He had crossed 
the frontier several days previously; but many stragglers 
of his party, which was said to include over 1,000 baggage 
coolies, were still hurrying along the road, some on mules 
and ponies, others on foot, laden with all sorts and sizes 
of packages, amongst which I noticed several cases of 
European wines and tinned provisions, kerosine oil, pots 
of fuchsias and geraniums, and some packages said to 
contain dynamite for blasting purposes. 

At Pedong I encamped near the small chapel of Father 
Desgodins, the Roman Catholic missionary, who for over 
twenty years conducted a mission within Tibetan territory 
on the borders of China, and then when he was driven 
out by irate Lamas, who razed his building to the ground, he 
settled here on the Indian side, under the British flag and 
on the high road to Tibet, with a small staff of assist- 
ants, carrying on educational work, and lithographing 
tracts for distribution amongst the Tibetan traders. One 
cannot but admire the self-sacrifice of these men who have 
given up their lives entirely to this humanizing work, to 
labour here without salary and on a bare subsistence that 
affords them little better food than the poorest native; for 
they choose to die here amongst their life's work without 
ever thinking of returning, like most missionaries, to home- 
life in Europe. It is a pity that they have not more 
striking results to show for all their labours. Yet it is 
something to accomplish the deliverance even of a few 


individuals from the constant terror of malignant spirits, 
under which these poor natives labour. And there are not 
a few of their flock who regard these benefactors with the 
same mingled feelings of reverence and love, as the Irish 
peasant expresses towards his pastor, the " Soggarth aroon", 
in the song : — 

"Who in the winter's night 

Soggarth aroon, 
When the cold blast did bite, 

Soggarth aroon, 
Came to my cabin door, 
And on my earthen floor 
Knelt by me sick and poor, 

Soggarth aroon ? " 

Kalim-pong, which we reached next day, on the same 
ridge, twelve miles nearer to Darjeeling, is also a mis- 
sionary station, where Mr. Sutherland and other members 
of the Church of Scotland Mission are doing some good 
work amongst the mild Lepchas, of whom a considerable 
colony is settled here. I was surprised, however, to find that 
the Lepchas were being taught through the Nepalese lan- 
guage, and not through their own vernacular. 

This village, whose name means "the Governor's hold", 
as it was formerly the head-quarters of a Bhotanese dis- 
trict, is now the head-quarters of "British Bhotan ". For 
this tract of hills to the east of the Teesta, from Pedong 
to the plains, was annexed by us from Bhotan in 1865 as 
an indemnity against the raids of the Bhotanese into British 
territory and for the expenses of the war of 1864, forced 



on us therewith. Their country, which is generally known 
by the Indian term of " Bhotan " or "The End of Tibet", 
has physically the same general characters as Sikhim, for 
it is the adjoining southern slopes of the Himalayas to the 
east of Sikhim. Its people, who are under fanatical Lamas 


from Tibet, call their country " The Southern Thunder- 
Dragon " (Lo-Dook), a name which I think denotes the 
excessive thunder experienced in this area, which, lying at 
the head of the Bay of Bengal, receives, even more than 
Sikhim, the blast of the rain clouds, and is by far the 
wettest portion of all the Himalayas. Our military post 


stands further east at Buxar or "The Mouth of the Bam- 
boo Bridge." These Bhotanese are naturally lawless and 
notoriously turbulent. They are held in little control by 
their nominal ruler, the " Deb Rajah ", as he is called by 
the plains-people; and their Chiefs or " Pen-lows " are each 
petty sovereigns in themselves, as independent as they can 
make themselves, and are constantly warring against each 
other, knowing no law but 

The good old rule, the simple plan 
That he should take who has the power 
And he should keep who can. 

As these predatory marauders were constantly raiding 
into our territory, destroying villages far and wide, and 
carrying off men and women into slavery and plundering 
their cattle, etc., our government inflicted a variety of mild 
punishments, without, however, any good effect. And when 
Sir Ashley Eden was sent in 1864 to try to make satis- 
factory arrangements, he was so grossly assaulted and in- 
sulted, that we annexed this part of Bhotan, as well as a 
large strip along the foot of the hills up to Assam, sub- 
ject in the event of the good behaviour of the tribes to 
an annual rent of about £ 5,000 as a preventive of further 

This mountainous tract, however, had previously be- 
longed to the Lepchas, according to the local traditions, 
and this is confirmed by the older names of the rivers and 
mountains, which are mostly Lepcha. 

Kalimpong crowns an open, cultivated spur. It has a 


much milder climate than Darjeeling, and boasts a consi- 
derable mart to which Tibetan traders come. 

Several of these were encamped in a yak-hair tent and 
other improvised shelters. They bring for sale or barter, 
ponies, wool, coarse blankets, furs, yak-tails, musk, turquoise, 
gold-dust, Chinese silk, brick-tea, borax and salt. These 
last are brought across the snows fastened on the backs of 
sheep. And they take back English broad-cloth, piece goods 
and other European manufactures ; tobacco, indigo, rice, 
sugar, madder and other tropical products, as well as coral, 
pearls, glass beads and precious stones. 

It is curious to find that the brick-tea is brpught all 
the way from China, eight months' journey or more across 
the most difficult and mountainous country in the world, from 
Tasienloo through Tibet to this place and Darjeeling. Yet, 
after this enormously long journey it is sold at the latter 
place at a cheaper rate than the tea locally grown at Dar- 
jeeling. And although these compressed blocks or bricks 
consist for the most part of coarse twigs, caked with refuse 
tea-dust, still the Tibetans prefer this stuff to the good 
Indian tea and will even pay a higher price for it. 

I bought from one of these Tibetan merchants an ex- 
ceptionally fine pony. It was creamy fawn-coloured, like 
the best Tibetan ponies, but it was so extensively covered 
over with zebra-like markings that to see it would have 
delighted the heart of Darwin and his followers, who be- 
lieve that the horse was descended from a zebra-like 
ancestor — though it is said that the wild horses (or Kyang) 


of the Tibetan plateaus, whose flesh is esteemed a delicacy 
by the native hunters, are not striped or brindled at all. 

Many of the fawn-coloured Tibetan ponies are brindled, 
but none of the many I have seen were marked so fully 
as this one. It had a black stripe down the spine, the 
tips of the ears, nose and tip of tail were black, and it 
had broad black stripes over the shoulders, flanks and 
legs, and dappled spots over the haunches. So suggestive 
of a tiger were its markings that it was called "Tiger" by 
the natives. And it proved to be a most gentle, good- 
tempered beast, following me about like a pet dog. 

The inhabitants of this part of Bhotan are still in con- 
siderable proportion Bhotanese. These differ in appear- 
ance from the Sikhimese Bhotiyas and the Tibetans, chiefly 
in that both men and women wear no pigtails, but shave 
their heads, like Lamas ; and they often wear turbans instead 
of the usual Chinese hats. They are generally called by 
their religious title of "The Southern Dook-pa " (L'o-Dook- 
pa), as they belong to the Dook-pa sect of Lamaism, and 
own as their spiritual head or Grand Lama, the King of 
Bhotan, the so-called " Dharma- (or religious) Rajah", as 
opposed to his temporal governor, the "Deb Rajah" above 
mentioned. The Lepchas call them "Proo", which may 
be the antiquated form of their present name Dook — which 
is spelt " Broog ". 

Here at Kalimpong is a small monastery of this Bhotanese 
or Dook-pa sect of Lamas. 

Our sudden dip down from here to cross the Teesta 


river, brought us to the lowest depths we had yet reach- 
ed, since leaving Darjeeling. The river here was only 700 
feet above the sea, and in this deep tropical gorge it was 
a fine river flowing swiftly, but much less tumultuously 
than where we crossed it by that awful cane-bridge. Here 
we crossed it by an elegant iron suspension bridge, and 
passed up its right bank, under shady foliage that over- 
arched our path for about a mile, to its junction with the 
Great Rang-eet river — the so called " Marriage-place of 
the Rivers", of the legend of which we have heard tell. 
Here the crooked Rang-eet joins the straight-going 
Teesta almost at a right-angle, and its clear silvery waters 
reflecting the foliage of its banks, refuse to mingle with 
the turbid Teesta till far below their meeting-place. These 
two differently coloured streams flow side by side in the 
same bed, unmixed for some hundred yards. The Teesta 
water, too, is colder. 

Along the Rang-eet, our path led us through lovely 
forest, till we reached that point where we had crossed it 
in the canoe, and thence we ascended to our first day's 
staging-house at Badam-tam, amongst the tea-gardens. 

Many acres of tea-bushes through which we passed were 
shrivelled up with a rusty blight. The tea-planters suffer 
much in this way by having rudely disturbed the balance 
of Nature, in removing the great variety of rank forest 
growth, and substituting for it only one kind of plant, 
namely tea. Thus the parasitical insects, beetles and mites, 
as well as moulds, finding their natural food gone, have 


turned their attention to the tea, and cause devastating 
"blights". One of the most serious of these, the "Mos- 
quito-blight", is the commonest under 4,500 feet elevation. 
It is due to an insect somewhat like the well-known blood- 
sucker, which pierces the young shoots of the tea-bush 
and sucks up their juice. Another is caused by a mite 
known as "red-spider", and all these pests require very 
active measures, dosing with insecticides, liquid and gaseous, 
to repel their ravages. 

A great swarm of locusts swept over us as we rode up 
next day (7th November) to Darjeeling. They came in 
such clouds as to darken the air, and they covered the 
roads, trees and fields everywhere, some inches deep in 
places. They were about three inches in length ; and the 
Nepalese villagers rushed about, gathering them in basket- 
fuls for food, as they ate them like shrimps, with great 
relish. So it was probably these insects, after all, that 
formed the diet of John the Baptist, and not the bean-pods 
of the same name ; for the locusts thus swarming up from 
India were the Egyptian species [Acridium peregrinum and 
a few A. Succincturn) ; and these are said, when salted, to 
be a favourite food of the Arabs in Northern Africa during 
long journeys. I afterwards learned 39 that this particular 
plague of locusts was first noticed in June 1889, in the 
desert of Sind and Western Rajputana, over a thousand 
miles off, where they laid eggs in the sandhills. These eggs 
hatched out there into young locusts which acquired wings 
about August, and then they swarmed ; and the flights of 



these young locusts spread in myriads in all directions, 
covering the whole of India, making their way to the Punjab 
in the north, to Madras and the Deccan in the south, and 
to Bengal and Assam in the east, doing much damage to 
the crops. In the arid Punjab, where vegetation is so pre- 
cious, the troops were turned out to destroy them, and 
rewards were offered for their destruction. In this way in 
one station alone (Kohat) twenty- two tons of these insects 
were killed in a single day. 

They did little damage in well-wooded Sikhim, beyond 
stripping many of the trees and tea bushes bare. They 
penetrated even to Tibet. More than one trustworthy 
traveller told me that the dead insects lay several feet deep 
on the Tang pass (15,700 ft.) to the east of the Dongkia, 
blackening the snow for many miles. And, curiously, a plague 
of locusts was predicted in the Tibetan astrological horoscope 
of this very year, as a Lama proudly pointed out to me. 

a locust {A. succintum). 
Natural size. 



No travellers come from far Tibet, 
From the mystic land no tidings yet 

For many a month are sent ; 
No more the tinkling bells ring clear 
On Lingtoo's heights, by Bedden's mere, 
On lelep's pass no step resounds, 
No smoke at even upward bounds 

From weary traders' tent. 

C. Macaulay's Lay of Larhen. 

As soon as the snow cleared from the uplands in the 
spring, I set off for the Jelep pass, on the direct overland 
trade-route by way of Lhasa to Pekin. This, too, was 
the scene of our late war with Tibet, of which many traces 
were still visible. 

An easy canter of about half an hour, one morning in 
the middle of April, carried us up from Darjeeling, over 
Jalapahar, dotted with its white barracks of the military 
sanatarium and artillery batteries, and gave us as we rose, 


magnificent views of the snows. Thence we descended to 
Jor-bungalow, or "The Two Cottages ", the seat of a Tibetan 
colony, where about a month previously I had seen these 
people joyously celebrating their belated new year. Like 
the ancient Romans, they begin their new year in the 
spring, when the winter season of suspended life has pass- 
ed away, and when the fulness of Nature's reawakening 
energies is delightfully exhibited in the wondrous pro- 
fusion of blooming orchids and magnolias in the fine forest 
of Rang-iroon, that we now entered, on the dripping damp 
northern slopes of Senchal. 

This magnificent forest, which has been preserved by 
government, gives us some idea of the luxuriance of the 
virgin forest that once covered Darjeeling and its sur- 
rounding hills ; but which has been ruthlessly swept away 
since Hooker's visit. It stretches for several hundreds of 
square miles, more or less continuously, from the top of 
Senchal down to the upper limit of cultivation, at about 
6,000 feet; and our road runs through it for about ten 
miles. Its giant oaks, chestnuts and magnolias are thickly 
draped with moss and wreaths of aerial orchids, ferns and 
festooning climbers and parasitic plants, which hang in great 
tufts and pendants, waving over the blue hydrangeas of 
the undergrowth. Some of the branches of these trees are 
perfect gardens in themselves. In the soft drapery of moist 
moss that thickly clothes these branches, and in the beds of 
fine mould from the decaying leaves that fills their crevices, 
are to be found not only luxuriant clusters of exquisite 




orchids (PleurotJialis etc.) and many kinds of other epiphytic 
plants, but even large woody shrubs and evergreens 
(Vaccinia etc.) with a variety of flowers and foliage. A 
gorgeous feature of the forest, at this season, is the blaze 
of crimson blossoms of the Magnolia Campbelli, a tree 
which has just flowered for the first time in Europe. 
Here, in its home, it is a forest monarch over 80 feet 
high, and its huge flowers, like those of the cotton tree 
below, appear curiously on its bare branches before its 
leaves. White magnolias also abound, scenting the air 
with their fragance. Delicately pink hydrangeas 18 to 20 
feet high are common, and ferns are so numerous that 
over sixty species may be found along this forest road 
within a few miles. 

The glimpses of the snows, framed in this rich forest 
foreground, were very varied, and there vistas comprised 
the deep valley of the Rang-eet, and to our left Dar- 
jeeling in the middle distance, and Kanchen-junga more fas- 
cinating than ever. And we passed several mounted Tibetans 
and Chinese, with strings of laden pack-ponies, also several 
detachments of our troops going and coming, which reminded 
us that we were on the trade-route to Tibet, and on a line 
of march held by our forces. 

After winding above a mineral spring, and past a few 
clearings of the herdsmen who supply milk to Darjeeling, 
and who are Bhotanese of the Moo-sepa clan, we emerged 
from the forest at the open slopes of Lop-chok, or "The 
cool stone," where Achoom promptly brought us breakfast, 


in the little rest-house, with its wide views of both the 
Teesta and Rang-eet valleys. 

Thence a steep descent, by rapid zig-zags, led us through the 
trim tea-gardens of Pashok, or " The Giant-bamboo Jungle ", 
for here begins the zone of this valued bamboo (Dendro- 
calamus Hamiltonii), whose stout stem, 7 to 9 inches in 
diameter, supplies the Lepchas with their large jugs and 
cooking-pots. Further down we re-entered the forest, and 
at about 4,000 feet below Darjeeling, reached the staging- 
house (3,300 ft.) in a semi-tropical forest, which generally 
resembled that of Badam-tam, the first stage of our pre- 
vious journey. Here we heard again the shrill chirping of 
the cicad insects, and the subdued roar of the great river 
below. Near the house amongst the undergrowth of thick 
stalked arums, spotted like serpents, were a few of that 
curious old-world type of tree, the cycad, which is some- 
what between a fern, a palm and a pine. 

The descent to the Teesta bridge, next morning, had 
to be done on foot as the road was too steep to ride. 
On the way down through the Sal woods to the tropical 
forest bordering the river, we got occasional glimpses of 
the river, and a fine bird's-eye view of its junction with the 
Rang-eet ; and we sighted a marsh-deer or Sambhar, (Lepcha, 
Sa-ving,) of which the species found in these hills are 
decidedly smaller than those of the outer plains. 

At the bottom of the gorge, the mighty Teesta, now only 
710 ft. above the sea, thunders down, carrying a tropical 
climate and vegetation up along its banks thus far within 


the mountains. We soon reached the iron bridge which we 
had previously crossed in coming from Kalimpong. Here, 
in this deep hot gorge, quite a large village is springing 
up since the increase in the military traffic that has 
followed our little war with Tibet. And now we realized 
that we were on the line of communications of a small 
army in the field. The road was thronged with small 
detachments of troops and endless strings of transport 
coolies, laden mules and pack-ponies going, and empty ones 
returning with their drivers, and droves of cattle and sheep 
for slaughter for the commissariat. 

The mouth of the bridge was quite blocked by the 
trains of transport bullock-carts that had come directly 
up the Teesta valley from the Indian plains of Siligoori, 
to avoid the needless climb up to and descent from 
Darjeeling. The block of carts here was especially 
great owing to the bridge having, through an oversight, 
been built only for foot-passengers, and so narrow that 
no cart could cross it. These vehicles therefore had to 
be unloaded, their wheels unshipped, and both their loads 
and the bits of the carts carried over piecemeal, and put 
together and reloaded at the other side ; all of which 
meant a chronic block of the traffic at this narrow throat 
of the bridge. 

The frequency and severity of the "Derbyshire neck" 
here is remarkable. Most of the residents suffered from 
this disfiguring swelling; and whilst I was at breakfast at 
the rest-house, I was surprised to see that several of the 


goats and the domestic fowls, as well as some of the 
ponies of the place had the same large swellings. The 
villagers blamed particular springs in the neighbourhood, 
which they said gave goitre to every one who drank that 
water. Probably the complaint is connected with the lime- 
stone-rocks that crop out hereabouts ; but I had already 
found that most of the goitre-causing springs in the sub- 
montane plains, contained in addition to lime an excess 
of iron, which we know produces readily fulness of the 
blood, and thus a swelling of this large vascular and 
unsupported gland of the neck might be accounted for on 
physical principles. 

At the entrance to the bridge a warning placard caught 
the eye. It bore the very necessary military notice to 
safeguard this slender vibrating structure : — " Troops crossing 
this bridge are not to keep step." And all along the 
bridge were tied countless parti-coloured streamers and 
fluttering prayer-flags, the offerings of the Tibetan passengers 
to the spirits of the water. I helped myself to a few of 
these flags for my museum, as curios are seldom to be 
had free, gratis and for nothing. 

Once across this bridge we were again in British Bhotan. 
In the steep ascent to Kalimpong we followed at first the 
new cart road which had been made since our last visit 
here, but after a time we took to the short-cut, which, 
rising over 3,000 feet in five miles, is always hot work to 
climb, and tries the breath of the pedestrian. Our troops 
found it especially trying when they were pushing on in 


1888 to fight the Tibetans. On that occasion one of the 
British soldiers is said to have exclaimed, after toiling, under 
a broiling sun, up some 2,000 feet in two miles, " I've 
heard that Tibet was a ta&/e-\and, so these must be the legs 
we are climbing 1 " 

Beyond Kalimpong, after several miles of hot shadeless 
road, we rose into some grateful forest at Rissisoom, or 
"The Three-spur Ridge", where three spurs diverge; and 
descending the northern of these, past Choo-mik, or " The 
Spring of Water", where there is a Lama temple, we reached 
again Pedong, and encamped not far from the French mis- 
sionaries ' chapel, near the solitary "incense-tree" (Sal; in 
Tibetan, Po) which gives its name to this village. The 
resin of this tree is largely used as incense in the Lama 
temples of Tibet. It is found m the ground at the foot 
of certain of these trees in Sikhim, in large masses, often 
nearly 30 — 40 cubic inches in size, but how it is produced 
is not yet known exactly. 

Pedong is now a considerable military station and commis- 
sariat depot for our small army of troops in Sikhim. The 
mere cost for the transport of the rations for our troops, 
in this little war and the subsequent occupation of this 
mountainous country, must have been enormous. All the 
food was brought from the Indian plains, and for the 
greater part of the way, within the hills, it had to be 
carried by mules and ponies, and on men's backs. The 
carriage of only one hundredweight for the short distance 
from the Teesta bridge to here is one to two rupees (one 


shilling and threepence to half a crown), according to the 
number of porters available. In this way these thousands 
of coolies have been making a month's wages in a few 
days. And as I came along I saw scores of these coolies 
seated by the roadside gambling, with little heaps of rupees 
changing hands; and it was no uncommon sight to see 
coolies resting beside their loads, throwing up rupees and 
striking them against each other, and gloating over the 
sight and sound of their new-found treasure. Yet what 
solid advantage have we yet gained for all this enormous 
outlay 1 

From there, several more aggravating descents and as- 
cents, and again further descents still awaited us ere we 
reached the final climb to the Pass. These ups and downs 
seriously obstruct the flow of trade along this route ; although 
the map distance from Darjeeling to the Jelep is only about 
40 miles, the distance by the undulating road is over 80, 
and the ascents must be over 20,000 feet and the descents 
over 15,0001 A descent from here to about 2,800 feet 
brought us to the Rishe, or " Hillhead ", torrent, which comes 
down from a high hill of that name (10,400 ft. high), and 
which we crossed by a strong bridge, at an elevation of 
2,030 feet above the sea, and we were then once again in 
"Independent Sikhim ". Thence we ascended through culti- 
vated fields to Rhenok, or "The Black (-earth) Hill"; and 
crossing that ridge at an elevation of about 5,000 feet, we 
wound through copses alternating with many fallow fields 
strongly scented with rank wormwood, to " The Great Flat 


Stone", which gives its name to a small hamlet at a 
traders' halting-place. The deserted barracks that we 
passed on the way had to be abandoned a few weeks 
previously by the artillery, on account of a bad epidemic 
of fatal fever that claimed here many victims, as was 
evidenced by the fresh graves with their wooden crosses. 
This epidemic was caused, so my Tibetan porters alleged, 
by the sylvan deities and water-sprites of this place, in 
revenge for some outrage perpetrated on them by our 
soldiery; but this "fact" will not, I fancy, be found in the 
records of our army. 

Pushing on by the good bridle-path that wound through 
rank jungle infested by venomous pipsee flies, we dipped 
down to the fine river called "The Water of the Lepcha's 
Hut" (Rongli-chu)y so named after a Lepcha's house at the 
crossing. We had a refreshing bath in the river after our 
hot march, and halted here for the night; for although 
the elevation was only ,2,590 feet above the sea, the site 
was exceptionally cool and was reported to be free from 
malaria, at least at that season, and here was a staging- 
house prettily situated on the river's bank. 

The woodwork of this building bore abundant marks of 
having been tenanted by the British soldier. He had 
spared few of the beams and posts in his eager desire 
to carve down his initials or name to posterity, whilst 
halting here with his detachments of troops that were 
frequently passing this way to and from the frontier fort, 
near the Jelep Pass. Our men caught a few fish in the 


stream, but they were aggravatingly bony and rather 
insipid to eat. 

From this place the ascent was practically unbroken. 
The road led up a finely wooded gorge, and crossing 
several tributaries, carried us into open glades where per- 
manent cultivation was possible. Here were several new 
settlements of the Nepalese colonists whom our govern- 
ment was inducing to settle in these hitherto uninhabited 
tracts, so as to create a fixed population, and provide a 
local supply of food and labour, on this solitary trade- 
route. Higher up we reached "The Great Se-tree " (Sedong- 
chen), where, at 6,500 feet elevation, and in a temperate 
forest of oaks, there is a rest-house, in which we halted for 
the night. 

Towering some 6,000 feet above us, and scarcely two 
miles distant, rose, like a black wall, the beetling heights of 
Lingtoo, the strongest of the fortified Tibetan positions 
which had to be taken by our troops, and which we had 
to cross in the morning. 

It is marvellous how our forces were able to carry such 
a strong position in the face of a swarming foe, even 
though badly armed, so excessively steep is the ascent, 
not to mention the difficulties of making active exertions 
in the rarefied air of such an altitude (12,617 ft-)> anc ^ the 
badness of the track at that time. Even with the present 
good bridle-path, the strings of baggage animals have to stop 
every few dozen yards to take breath. The first Tibetan 
stockade was built on a ridge at 9,060 feet high, thickly 



covered with dwarf bamboo, beside a small tarn, called " The 
Fine Sheep-pond" (Jcluk-Tso). Here 
some of my coolies who had accom- 
panied our troops, pointed out the spots 
where the Tibetans had lain in ambus- 
cades, screened by the 
undergrowth and mist, 
and the remains of 
some of their dead 
were still to be seen 
not far from our path. 


The steep ascent up the cliffy Lingtoo led us beyond 


the bamboos, winding through rhododendrons ablaze with 
blossoms, on which honey-suckers were feeding, and up 
through dwarf junipers (J. recurva) and silver-firs to the 
bleak summit, which was crowned by the long lines of 
Tibetan masonry fortifications, after the style of the Tibetan 
block-house at Yatoong, here figured. 1 roamed over these, 
examining their details, whilst Achoom kindled a fire in 
one of the deserted barracks, to prepare some tea and hot 

The storming of this Tibetan stronghold by our troops, 
under General Graham, was effected with marvellously 
little loss of life on our side, seeing that the natural 
strength of the position made the place practically impreg- 
nable, if it had been held by any well-armed and disciplined 
body of men. But the Tibetans were only armed with 
wretched rusty matchlocks, and some had merely slings 
and bows and arrows, which latter are still the native 
weapon of the Tibetans. Indeed, the Tibetan word for " gun " 
is " fire-arrow " (Me-dahJ, and their commanders are still 
called "Lords of the Arrows" (Dah-pdii). More than to their 
weapons, however, did they trust to the spells of their 
priests, and especially to the divinations of the Ne-choong 
oracle. These spells they believed secured to them, not 
only the supernatural assistance of the gods ; but also 
rendered them individually invulnerable against the shots 
of our rifles. And even when their men were being rapidly 
shot down, still the survivors did not lose faith in their 
spells; but afterwards with complacent confidence they as- 



serted that something had gone wrong in the casting of their 
spells, but that in the next war they must certainly prove effica- 
cious. Amongst several of these spells found in their camp, 
was one like a windmill, inscribed with the words " Break 
them! Destroy them!" A curious Tibetan map of Sikhim 


and Darjeeling was also picked up, and a lithograph of it 
is now displayed in the Survey Office in Calcutta. 

Their code of rules to be followed in warfare, though 
quaintly worded, is generally admirable in theory, as seen 
in a manuscript copy found in Sikhim by Mr. White. 
They read: 


" Before going to war, the strength of the enemy 
"should be carefully ascertained, and diplomacy is to be 
" exhausted before a campaign is undertaken ; and care 
" should be taken that by going to war no loss be sustained 
" by your Government. Anyone coming with overtures of 
" peace should be well received. Should two or more 
" enemies combine against you, no means should be left 
" untried to separate them, and if possible to bring one 
"over to your side; but false oaths should not be resorted 
"to, nor the using of God's name. See that there are no 
" lazy, sick, or timid in the ranks ; but only those who fear 
" not death. Experienced men only should be sent. The 
"army should be divided into three divisions under differ- 
" ent officers. Your horses, tents and arms should be kept 
" in good order. A doctor, diviner, astrologer and Lama 
"should be appointed. On moving, the tent fires should 
" first be put out, the wounded be cared for ; and in cross- 
" ing rivers, order should be kept, and those behind should 
" not push forward. Things found should be returned with- 
"out asking or reward. Any disputed booty should be 
"drawn for by lots. The General should appoint sentries, 
"who must look to the water-supply, and see they become 
" not easily frightened. They should allow no stranger to 
"enter the camp armed; but should be careful not to kill 
"any messenger. If a sentry kills a messenger coming to 
"make peace, he shall be sent to his home in disgrace, 
"mounted on some old useless horse with broken harness. 

" Again, when a fort is surrounded, those in it should 


" remain quiet and show no fear. They should not fire 
"off their arms uselessly, and with no hope of hitting the 
" enemy. The well within the fort should be most carefully 
" preserved. If you be defeated you must give up your 
" arms, and those who give these up must not be killed. 
" Should anyone kill one who has given up his arms, he 
" must be derided and scoffed at as a coward. If you 
" capture a General or officer of rank you should bind his 
" hands in front with a silk scarf; he should be allowed to 
" ride his own horse or another good horse, and should be 
"treated well; so that in the event of your ever falling 
" into his hands he may treat you also well. Prisoners 
" should receive necessary subsistence, and also expenses for 
" religious ceremonies. Should an army be defeated and 
" obliged to fly, nothing should be said to them, but they 
" should not be rewarded or receive any presents, even 
"though the leader be a great man." 

Our artillery proved too much for them. When it poured 
its withering shells into their midst they broke and ran, 
and though they made several stands higher up, they soon 
were driven from their position, swept over the pass, and 
pursued into the valley of Choombi beyond. This charming 
Tibetan valley could easily have been held, even by a 
small force of police ; but our troops were quickly with- 
drawn, out of consideration for the feelings of China, the 
nominal suzerain of Tibet. 

The Chinese immediately on hearing of this defeat of the 
Tibetans, despatched an envoy to Darjeeling to settle this 


frontier trouble, although they had hitherto professed their 
inability to influence the Tibetans. This envoy was Sheng 
Tai, the chief Chinese Resident or Amban at Lhasa, and he 
was accompanied by a large suite of Celestials and Tibetans, 
who astonished us during the past winter at Darjeeling, by 
appearing like antediluvian monsters, dressed in the most 


The chief Mandarin 

of Lhasa. 

The Amban-Sheng Tai 

Secretary to 

eral of Troopt 

at LIi.tss.-i. 

formidable trappings to keep out the cold, such as they 
use in the arctic winters in Tibet, including nose-pads, 
ear-pads and temple-pads, and huge padded goggles. 

And, only a few weeks before our visit here, a con- 
vention was signed between these Chinese and England, 
which recognised the English protectorate over Sikhim, 
defined the boundary in general terms, and appointed a com- 
mission to facilitate trade across this frontier. The cere- 


mony of signing this convention was done with much 

pomp at Government House, Calcutta, before the Amban 

with his Chinese suite returned to Pekin over this demolished 

Tibetan fort, by the way we had come. 

The Chinese plenipotentiary, the Amban, whose official desig- 
nation is " Chinese Imperial Associate Resident in Tibet and Military 
Lieutenant Governor" accompanied by his suite, as shown in the 
accompanying illustration, was received at the bottom of the 
grand staircaise by the Under-Secretary of the Foreign Department, 
and conducted to the top of the stairs where Mr. Cunningham, 
Foreign Secretary, was waiting to lead him to the Council Chamber, 
along a passage lined by the body-guard. The Amban wore a 
dress of blue and black silk, with a richly jewelled belt from which 
hung a short sword. He and his secretaries and suite all wore 
their official caps with their buttons of rank. A couple of minutes 
after they entered the chamber, the Viceroy and staff, with two 
members of council came in, in procession, and the Imperial 
resident was presented to His Excellency by Mr. Cunningham. 
The Viceroy showed the Amban to his seat at his right hand, 
and all the other officers took their seats, two of the Chinese 
having places at the table, and four standing apart. Then the 
powers of the Plenipotentiaries were presented and acknowledged. 
The door was then closed, while the Convention was read out, 
and compared in the English and Chinese versions; and after 
about a quarter of an hour the door was opened, and four copies 
of the Convention were signed by their Excellencies. The Amban 
used a brush like a camel-hair pencil, with a plain wooden 
handle. He dipped this in a small metal dish of Indian ink held 
by one of his attendants, and stooping over the parchment, slowly 
inscribed two characters, one below the other, and both together 
not more than half an inch in length. Beside the Viceroy's 
"Lansdowne" written in a bold hand, they had the appearance of a 
mistake that had been scratched out. When the copies were 
signed they were sealed by attendants, and here the stamping of 
the red seal of China was done in a moment; whereas the great 
fan, ox punkah, had to be stopped, and a number of matches struck 
under the table and in sheltered corners, before the wax seal of 
the British Government was affixed. 



From this rugged crest of Lingtoo, with its ruined fort, 
a sweep of fine rolling downs, the upland pastures, stretch 
away up to the snows of the Chola range and its pass of 
the Jelep. At first the knolls, amongst which we find our- 
selves, are covered with clumps of rhododendrons, now in 
full bloom and clothing the hillsides with almost every 
shade of bright colour, from brilliant vermilion (R. cinna- 
barinnm) to pale rose, blue and yellow. And the grassy 
depressions between the lichen-clad rocks are enamelled 
with purple primroses (petiolaris), blue gentians (quadrif.), 
pink and white anemones, buttercups and other bright 
yellow Alpine flowers, already taking advantage of the brief 
spell of sunshine by bursting into blossom ; for even in 
these high altitudes many flowers are " born to bloom and 
blush unseen", and summer is as sweet as down below. 
Magnificent views of the snows, too, are to be got ; that 
of Kanchen-junga is especially fine, from the boldness of 
the foreground. The numerous little pools in the marshy 
hollows which are found here, are considered by Blanford 
to be traces of former glaciers — the dams, being little 
moraines, — and he says, " I had been carefully watching for 
marks of glacial action at a lower elevation, but could 
find none whatever; if any ever existed they have long 
since been obliterated by the tremendous rainfall and con- 
sequent disintegration and denudation of the surface." 

After a slight descent through a pine forest with some 
stunted junipers, a turn of the road reveals the frontier 
fort of Gnathong, or "The Black Meadow", so called by the 


Tibetans, as its dark pine-encircled meadow is the first 
traders' camping-ground on this side of the snowy pass. 
In regard to this name, as in so many others, it is a pity 
that in spelling it, our map-makers should have gone out 
of their way to introduce an initial G that does not exist 
in the Tibetan, or "T//ibetzan" as they would have it, for 
the native word is plain Na-t'ang. 

The fort here is perhaps the highest military post in 
the world which is held by Europeans. Its elevation is 
12,030 feet above the sea-level. It lies in the bottom of 
a bowl-like valley, commanded all round by heights at no 
great distance, so that it is only tenable against a timid 
and badly armed foe like the Tibetans. Its fortifications 
are, like the barracks themselves, of wood, backed by 
shallow earthworks and trenches. Yet it looks picturesque, 
especially as the small stream that meanders down the 
land-locked valley has been dammed up to form a consider- 
able sized lake, which gives the troops who are cooped 
up in this dreary place some recreation, bathing, boating 
and swimming in summer, and skating in winter, in addition 
to a plentiful supply of water. 

Through the clouds of thick mist which were fast settling 
down, we saw as we crossed below the dam, some scores 
of European soldiers, and our ears caught the cheery 
brogue of the jovial Connaught Rangers, who held this 
post, assisted by some artillery, Goorkhas and pioneers ; and 
soon we experienced the warm welcome from the hospi- 
table officers, who ensconced us in one of the spare log- 


huts within the fort. It was amusing, if not pathetic, to 
notice that the streets inside the fort in this outlandish 
edge of the world, were named " Hyde Park Corner ", " Rotten 
Row", etc.; showing how the Britisher in his exile here, 
still clings in loving fancy to the land of his birth. 

The bitter cold of the winter may be imagined from the 
extra warm clothing that was needed for the troops in 
addition to their ordinary winter clothing. The extra cloth- 
ing issued on this account to the troops (2,000 British and 
native and 930 followers) employed in Sikhim, is given 
officially for the year ending 1st April, 1889, as: — 11,000 
blankets, 4,100 pairs of boots and shoes, 3,600 cardigan 
jackets and warm coats, 2,200 sheep-skin coats or poshteens, 
and over 8,000 pairs of worsted socks, as well as 8,500 
warm jerseys and pyjamas. About 4,000 waterproof sheets 
were also issued, besides mittens, putties or woollen leggings, 
turbans, and warm waistcoats in proportion; 650 water- 
proof capes were supplied for the use of men exposed to 
the wet during guard or picket duties. The protection of 
the men's eyes fom snow blindness was not forgotten, the 
force being supplied with 1,200 pairs of goggles. 

As is usual at most military stations on the frontier, 
the natives were especially polite. The Tibetans, of whom 
there were a goodly number here, kowtowed and put out 
their tongues in their most respectful way ; although several 
of them were men who were fighting us a few months 
before, but who were now profitably employed in building, 
road-making and carrying loads, for which they got good 


pay. This peculiar Tibetan form of polite salutation which 
we have already seen, was not at first understood by the 
British soldiers here, one of whom complained to his 
officer, that one of these "dirty rascals" put out his tongue 
at him, and "I knocked him down; and when he got up 
again he put out his tongue even more than before, then 
again I knocked him down." 

Next morning we ascended to the Jelep pass, riding 
most of the way. A zig-zag led over the "Derby Downs", 
as the undulating hill to the north of the fort is called, to 
commemorate the charge of the Derbyshire regiment in 
driving the Tibetans from the Tooko ridge above. It was 
along this ridge, at an elevation of 13,550 feet, that the Tibet- 
ans built their famous wall during the night before the 
last fight. As has been remarked, it seems scarcely 
credible that this wall which was breast high, and extended 
for four or five miles, could have been erected in a single 
night. When our picket was withdrawn from this Tooko 
ridge at dark one evening, not a Tibetan was to be seen 
near, nor was a sound heard in the night at Gnathong, which 
was only a mile and a half below, and yet next morning 
there was this wall completed, and lined by a mob of yelling 
thousands. Some evidence of the havoc wrought by our 
bullets was still to be seen in a few pierced skulls lying 
about, and gruesome piles of dead Tibetans showing through 
the thin graves, trenched open by the heavy rains. 

From the pass through this Tooko ridge, we passed over 
open grassy downs and moorland, and descended through 


scrubby rhododendrons to a little lake about half a mile 
long, the Bidang-Tso (12,700 ft.), fringed with ruby-co- 
loured primroses (P. Kingii). This lake is, as noted by 
Mr. Blanford, one of the best examples of a glacier-lake. 
Just at the upper or north-west end there is a horse-shoe 
moraine, which has formerly enclosed a second lake, now 
converted into a marsh. At the south end is a second 
well-marked moraine, damming up the lake. 

A sharp rise up the craggy, yet swampy Kapap valley, 
and a sharper rise through a snow-streaked gorge, and 
still steeper bit over frozen snow, on foot, brought 
us, at 14,390 feet above the sea, to the summit of the 
"Lovely Level" pass, as the name Jelep, I found, means. 
And certainly it deserves this name, for it is the easiest 
of all the passes between Tibet and Sikhim. It is rela- 
tively low, and can be crossed on horseback both up and 
down, and is seldom closed by snow for more than a few 
weeks during winter. We went down the other side some 

The view into Tibet from the top is much finer than 
from the Tang-kar pass; for here, one sees away down 
into the bold pine-clad valley of the inhabited Mo river, 
where lies its capital town of Choombi, and beyond it rise 
the heights of Phari fort, leading up to the snowy peaks, 
the most conspicuous of which is the sugarloaf-like cone 
of the sacred Chumo-lhari (23,940 ft.), or "The Hill of the 
Lady-goddess", the tutelary spirit of this valley, as well as 
of the adjoining Tibetan tableland to the north. In the 


foreground, a few feet below the pass, on the Tibetan 
side, is a small lake whose waters leap down through dark 
fir-woods, past the site now occupied by the Tibetan 
block-house of Yatoong, (figured on page 267,) into the Mo 
river, only about six miles distant, at the flourishing town 
of Rinchen-gong, and three miles below the fort of 
Choombi, at an elevation of not more than 9,400 ft. 

This fine valley of Choombi, though at present closed to 
Europeans, has been visited by several Englishmen. Manning 
passed this way to Lhasa last century, as well as the 
missions sent by Warren Hastings — Bogle's in 1773, and 
Turner's in 1783. Some of our troops also, as above 
mentioned, lately pushed into this valley. And all testify 
to its splendid climate and scenery, and the signs of material 
well-being and comfort there, in such striking contrast to 
Sikhim. The houses are said to be well-built stone build- 
ings, two to three storeys high, surrounded by fertile meadows 
and orchards ; and in the river, good fishing is said to be got. 

What a pity it is that this fine residential valley was 
not annexed by us, when we had the legitimate opportunity 
of doing so two years ago, as some indemnity for the 
enormous cost of that little war which the aggressive 
Tibetans forced upon us. The cost to our Government 
of that expedition, and the subsequent military occupation 
of a position in Sikhim which it entailed, can scarcely have 
amounted to less than a million sterling, and was probably 
much more. Yet all this expenditure, so far, has turned 
out dead loss, without the slightest prospect of advantage 


in any way. And even China, in view of all the circum- 
stances, could not have seriously objected to its annexation. 

Amongst other reasons for this annexation in these days 
of geographical boundaries, is the fact that this valley is 
not geographically a part of Tibet at all, but lies within 
the m-Himalayan water-shed, like Sikhim, Nepal and 
Bhotan ; and it is believed to have belonged to Sikhim or 
Bhotan, until about two hundred years ago. Several of 
the inhabitants have told me that they would welcome 
annexation by the British Government, as they are so 
harassed by the Chinese and Tibetan officials, who receive 
no wages and who "squeeze" the inhabitants accordingly. 
And the political as well as the physical desirability of 
acquiring it is immense. Its climate is far better fitted for 
a sanitarium than Sikhim, for it is screened from the rains 
which make residence in Darjeeling so unpleasant during 
those very months when a cool sanitarium is most needed ; w 
and its bold Alpine scenery is said to be scarcely equalled 
by the best parts of Kashmir. 

Then, this valley is the only natural trade-route from 
India to Central Tibet, and is therefore of commercial as 
well as strategical importance. The route through Sikhim 
by which we have come is so extremely circuitous, so 
bristling with endless ups and downs, dipping into tropical 
valleys and ultimately rising to the 14,390 feet of the 
Jelep, only to dip down again to the 9,000 feet of this 
Choombi valley, that it is indeed remarkable that any trade 
at all finds its way by the present route through Sikhim, 


or "The Crested Country," a peculiarly appropriate name. 
On the other hand, as a reference to the map will show, 
the natural and direct route from India to Central Tibet 
is up this Mo or Torsha river from the plains of Jalpaigoori, 
the British district which adjoins Darjeeling on the east. 
Here are no trying ridges to cross, but one simple gradient 
all the way, through a productive country that would carry 
a remunerative railway, and over which trains could easily 
run from India via an extension of the existing Bengal- 
Doars or Rangpur railway, into Choombi in a few hours. 

The advantages of this route struck Sir Ashley Eden so 
forcibly, when he was crossing this river on his mission to 
Bhotan in 1864, that he wrote : "If the country had been in 
any hands but those of the Bhotanese, a road into Tibet would 
have been taken up this (Mo) valley, and would have opened 
communications with the plains, avoiding all snoiv-passes" 
— an important record which seems to have been forgotten. 

Between this Choombi valley and the plains of British 
India, a corner of Bhotan intervenes, it is true. But this 
doubtless could be easily acquired from the impecunious 
Bhotanese, who have already ceded to us, for nominal 
sums, so much of their territory ; and especially as this 
small tract in question is so sparsely populated, and has 
already been shorn of most of its marketable timber and 
india-rubber trees, so that it is now of little value to the Bho- 
tanese themselves. 

I advocated these views at the time of the late war; 
and I believe that eventually we shall have to take over 


Choombi. Once we have got the railway there, there will 
be relatively little physical difficulty in extending it up to 
the Tibetan plateau, and to the great central river, the 
Tsang-po, if necessary. For Tibet is certain to become 
of considerable commercial importance — its rich gold-fields, 
perhaps the richest in the world, are alone sufficient to 
make it so. And it lies in to India much more closely 
than to Russia. On the disintegration of China, or other 
crisis, demanding the occupation of Lhasa, an Indian army 
could reach that city from Choombi in about a week's march ; 
whereas between Kashgar and the Pamirs lies an almost 
impassable desert which would take many months, indeed 
the greater part of a year, to cross. The easiest route of all 
to Lhasa would, of course, be up the Tsang-po or Dihing 
river from Assam. 

The cheapness of living in Choombi and in the adjoining 
plateau of Tibet is remarkable, and all the more so when 
compared with that in Sikhim. I was told by some of the 
natives of this valley of Choombi (which is generally known 
as " To-mo ", after an edible tuber, for which it is famous), 
that an ordinary native traveller, who purchases his pro- 
visions with money (though in some places in Tibet the 
people do not sell goods for money, but only barter them), 
can live on about i 1 / 2 to 2 annas (or pence) a day, 
compared to the 6 annas or so, that it costs in the 
neighbouring British territory of Darjeeling. And car- 
riage is still cheaper. The ordinary means of transport 
is by ponies, mules or yaks, that carry about i'/ 4 to 


2 cwts., for human porterage is deemed degrading in 
Tibet. The cost of the carriage of one maund^\ % ofacwt.,) 
all the way from Choombi to Gyantse, the large mart of 
Central Tibet, six or seven days' march distant, is said to 
be only about four annas (fourpence) all the way 1 In this 
march, two days are usually taken from Choombi to Phari 
fort, where the customs are levied, and Phari is ordinarily 
five days' march from Gyantse, seven from Shigatse, and 
thirteen from the holy city of Lhasa, the Mecca of the 
Tibetans; though I met at the Jelep a man who had left 
Lhasa only eight days previously. The trade-duties are said 
to amount to four annas (pence) a head going, and three 
annas returning, in addition to about one-tenth of the value 
of the goods imported, and this is often taken in kind. The 
Nepalese levy heavier duty on their Tibetan frontier, as 
much as five rupees (over six shillings) per head, and 
about ten per cent of the value of the goods, except gold, 
which is always passed free of duty so as to encourage 
its import. Silver, on the other hand, whilst it is freely 
exported to Tibet, and usually of a base quality, is 
strictly forbidden to be imported from Tibet into Nepal. 

Returning from this Jelep pass, we saw other tracks going 
off to the right and left, to the neighbouring passes, between 
the jagged snow-streaked peaks of this so-called Chola 
range — to Pemberingo, 15,000 feet on our left, and to the 
Nathu, Yak and Cho passes on our right. Following this 
last track over the moors for a short distance, we reached 
the wild gorge of the diamond-shaped Nemi lake, fringed 


with firs, beyond which, after about two miles, the track 
goes up to the Nathu pass, where a limited view of this 
Choombi valley is obtained. About three miles farther on, 
through a picturesque valley with a succession of little 
lakes, is the steep Yak pass with a fine view of the 
Choomolhari peak. The Cho or Cho-La pass is long, steep 
and tedious, and commands a restricted view. This range 
consists of a pale-coloured gneiss with a remarkable low dip, 
so that the peaks are somewhat flattened. 

Through the thick mist that now set in, we heard the 
musical tinkle of ox-bells, and met several yak-herdsmen 
on our way back to Gnathong ; we bought some milk and 
butter from them. They are nomads like the herdsmen of 
the Lachoong valley. They graze their cattle on both 
the Tibetan and Sikhim sides of the frontier. In the sum- 
mer they drive their cattle across the Jelep and adjoining 
passes, into the Choombi valley, where they grow a few 
crops, and in autumn they recross the passes. As the snow 
falls, they descend into the lower valleys of Sikhim, where 
they have scanty crops of barley and buckwheat. The 
latter is a hardy cereal of the dock family, which is made 
into poor girdle cakes ; it is called pJiyo by the Bhotiyas, 
pru by the Lepchas and pha-phar by the Nepalese. 

One of the few pedestrians we met was a Sikhimese 
going to Choombi, carrying a heavy load of Murwa 
seed of his own growing. It was said that a load of this 
seed, which in Sikhim brings only Rs. 4 ] / 2 , sells for Rs. 
6 in Choombi ; and this amount, if invested there in 


Tibetan salt, buys about 2 l / 2 cwts., which sell in Darjeeling 
for about Rs. 30 — a good stroke of business 1 

Some of the legends of these passes were related to me 
as I descended to Gnathong: how that the wizard-saint, Lo- 
pon Rimboo-che, the founder of Lamaism in Tibet, passed 
over this way to introduce his religion into Sikhim, and the 
devils of these mountains conspired against him. He entered 
by the Cho-la, hence called " Jo-la" ', or the "Pass of the 
Lord", to which he thus gave his name; on the east side of 
that pass, a rock is pointed out as "the throne" (zooti) on 
which he sat; and close to the pass, is a spot where he 
surprised some she-devils cooking human beings, and 
two masses of columnar rock there, are alleged to be two 
of the stones that supported their colossal cooking-pot. 
He, too, created the pass through that ridge on which the 
Tibetans built their long wall — the Tooko La, or " Up-torn 
Pass", by tearing up the rock there to crush an obnoxious 
demon, whom he buried in the Bidang lake near by. And 
all these lakes are tenanted by mermaids, sirens and dragon- 
spirits who allure the unwary to destruction. 

The names of these mountains, places and rivers here- 
abouts, I find, give us great insight into the way in which 
primitive people have coined their names for places, and 
given names which now convey to us little or no meaning. 
In England and most parts of Europe, where so many 
waves of different races have swept into the country in 
ancient times, and so little is known of the language and 
customs of the aboriginal natives who were thus displaced 


or driven out, it is not easy now to find a meaning in the 
names of many of the rivers, mountains and places. Here, 
however, the aborigines, who gave the original names, are 
still in possession, and as they themselves have occupied 
much of their country only comparatively recently, the 
reasons for their name-giving have not yet been lost sight 
of. But there is no time to lose in investigating this sub- 
ject, for the language of the real aborigines, the Lepchas, 
is fast becoming extinct. They have not a written language, 
nor has any full vocabulary of their language ever been 
published. Thus the names that they have given to the 
places and rivers might, through much longer delay, prove 
unintelligible by their meaning becoming lost. 

I had, therefore, in this research, to prepare a vocabu- 
lary for myself by taking down the words phonetically from 
the lips of the elder Lepchas, and to hunt for the precise 
shade of meaning of each word. And then I had to elicit 
by enquiries at each spot, the special reasons as to why 
that place or river had received its particular name. 41 Here 
I shall only mention that while all the oldest names in this 
part of the Himalayas are of Lepcha origin, there are also 
many Tibetan names which have been bestowed by the 
immigrant Bhotiyas who settled here ; and there are 
also now in the lower ranges recently occupied by 
the Nepalese, several Nepalese names for places already 
bearing aboriginal names, not to mention several English 
ones. So that several of the hills and rivers have 
now come to possess three different names or syno- 


nyms, according to these three ethnic groups. Thus, the 
river which the Lepchas call "The Great Straight-going 
Water" {Rang-nyoo-Oong), and which the Bhotiyas call "The 
Pure Water" {Tsang-Chu), is called by the Hindooized Ne- 
palese, "The Three Currents" {Teestota or "Teesta"), on 
account of its stream breaking up into three main branches 
in its course through the plains. 

It will already have been noticed, how remarkably de- 
scriptive these native names are, as a rule ; and they usually 
embody information that is useful to the roving Lepcha 
aborigines of the forest, or, in the case of a trade-route 
such as we were now traversing, to the Tibetan traders 
who frequent it. The names usually well express some 
very obvious physical feature of the site or river; e.g., 
of rivers, an especial tortuosity, steepness, impetuosity, 
shallowness or otherwise of a course or channel ; of moun- 
tains, their shape, appearance, etc. ; of village sites, the 
stony, precipitous, meadow-like character, quality of soil, 
jungle-product, conspicuous tree, etc. 

Thus, most of the names of places along this road denote 
halting-places, or stages presenting a rock-shelter, or a 
clearing in the jungle with water near, and occasionally 
pasture. These sites, being on lines of communication 
and always near a water-supply, occasionally develop into 
villages. The names were probably first given by Tibetan 
merchants or other travellers, such as priests or monks; 
and the process of such name-giving probably arose through 
a pioneer merchant or other traveller, narrating the stages 


of his journey, and his successors adopting his stages and 

Such a traveller might be supposed to describe how on 
going from "The Tomo-tuber" country {Choombi) to the 
"Country of Rice" (or " Den-jong" as the Tibetans call 
Sikhim, for it is one of their chief granaries for this staple 
food), and on crossing "The Lovely Level Pass " (Je-lep-la\ he 
passed "The Saints' Mount" (Ku-phu) and the "Uptorn 
Pass" through the ridge (Tooko-la), and reached "The Black 
Meadow " (Gna-tJiong), where he halted. Next day he proceed- 
ed down "The Steep Descent" (Ling-tu, or properly Loong- 
tu) to "The Big .SV-tree Clearing" (Se-dong-cheii). Next day, 
continuing his descent past " The Big Pigs ' Wallow ", (Pha- 
dom-chen) he crossed "The Water" (Chi) at the Lepcha's 
house (Rong-li) and ascended to "The Big Flat Stone" (Do- 
lep-chen), where he halted. The following day he crossed "The 
Black Hill" (Rkenok) and "The Mountain-Head Torrent" 
(Ri-she-Chu) and ascended to "The Incense-tree Clearing" 
(Pe-dong). Next day he lunched at "The Big Spring" 
(Choo-mik chen), and crossing the ridge at the junction of 
"The Three Hill-tops" (Risisum), reached "The Governor's 
Fort", or "pong" as the Lepchas call it (Kalim-pong) etc., etc. 

On returning to Pedong, I proceeded eastwards along 
the frontier of Bhotan. A charming walk through a fine 
temperate forest led over the exposed crest of Labah, or 
"The Windy Site" (6,600 ft), down to Ambiokh (2,920 ft.). 
On the way, we saw the tracks of wild elephants, and the 
damage they had done to the trees as they passed. Large 


herds of these animals roam hereabouts, and are said to 
ascend as high as 10,000 feet on the flanks of Lingtoo ; 
and every year numbers are caught by the Indian Govern- 
ment, in the unreclaimed forest of the adjoining plains below. 

Near my tent in the forest, at Ambiokh, rose the pic- 
turesque ruins of the old Bhotanese fort of Daling (3,350), 
that gave its name to this part of Bhotan, which was known 
to the Bengalees as the Daling- Dooar, or " pass." This fort, 
which occupies a very strong position, is perched, as its 
name " The Rocky Site " implies, on the precipitous edge of 
the gneiss-rocks, which rise here at a very high angle. It 
was stormed by our troops in our war with Bhotan 1864, 
already referred to. This fort overlooks the great Terai 
jungle at the foot of the Himalayas, and the sea of out- 
stretching plains, seamed by the ever-shifting channels of 
the great rivers. We saw that the impetuous torrents 
which had hurried down from the cloudy mountains into 
the sunshine, now formed majestic rivers that creep slug- 
gishly along their winding way over the plains, depositing 
as they go the debris of the hills in such enormous quantities, 
that the river-beds become raised above the surrounding coun- 
try and force the rivers to seek new channels, oscillating for 
many miles on either side. One of the largest of these rivers 
that we saw is thus called "The Hidden Water" {Jal-daka), 
because it sinks down and disappears for several miles, 
flowing underneath the porous gravel and loose detritus. 

I descended this Terai jungle by following a path past 
the "cow station" {Goora-bathan) of some Nepalese herds- 



men. These shallow passes or entrances from the plains 
into the hills are here called by the Indians, Doo-ars, 
equivalent to and having the same Aryan root as the 
Saxon "door". Several others of these shallow valleys or 
Doo-ars 4: have been ceded to us by the Bhotanese as waste- 
land, and now form some of the richest tea-land in India. 

The jungle here, is so thick and dense that it was not 
practicable or wise to go very far from the path, especially 
as I had no elephant to ride ; for on the sandy bank of one 
of these streams, amongst tracks of rhinoceroses and deer, 
I came across the fresh foot-prints of a tiger. Here I 
got several birds of Malayan type, including two fine grey 
pea-pheasants with gorgeous iridescent spots on their wings 
and tails, a Bhotanese partridge, and the great racket- 
tailed Drongo, a sort of bird-of-paradise {Dissemnrus para- 
diseus). Jungle fowl were common. These ancestors of our 
common domestic fowl are said to have been domesticated 
in India and China before 1400 B.C., and introduced into 
Europe amongst the Greeks as early as 600 B.C. The 
shrill clarion call of the wild bird is much more sharp 
and staccato than that of the domestic. The variety of 
butterflies and other insect life is even greater than in 
Sikhim, also the rankness of the vegetation, for the rain- 
fall in this outer tract, to the east of the Teesta and in 
the basin of the Brahmapootra, is almost double that of the 
corresponding parts of Sikhim. 

The semi-aborigines who inhabit the " Doo-ars " and 
the adjoining plains of the Brahma-pootra, the river be- 


yond, are in many ways an interesting people. They do 
not, as is stated by Colonel Dalton, Mr. Risley and other 
writers, belong to the dark negro-like aborigines of India, 
the Dravidians; but they are a distinctly Mongoloid race, 
a branch of the "Kooki" that seems to have entered Bengal 
from the east, by way of the eastern valley of the Brahma- 


pootra and not, I think, from Tibet. They have become so 
much Hindooized by contact with Bengalees, that they have 
lost not only their own language, but even their tribal 
name, and are now known by the Bengalee epithet of 
Koch, or "the Terai" (people), just as their kinsmen across 
the Brahma-pootra are called " Kochari" or "Cachari", an 
identical term. Most of them, however, prefer to call them- 
selves by the Hindoo title of " Raj -bans i" or "The Royal 
Race", to affiliate themselves on their nobler kinsmen, the 


reigning chiefs of Koch or Cooch-Behar, Tipperah, Hajo, 
etc., in lower Assam and Bengal. A few of the still more 
aboriginal tribes are to be found in the deeper parts of 
the forest, these are the Meek or Boro, and the Dhimal. 
All of these people have a curious form of inheritance on 
the mother's side, instead of the father's, as is usual ; and some 
traces of this are also, as we have seen, to be found amongst 
the Lepchas. 

These sturdy, industrious people of the Koch tribe enjoy 
remarkable immunity from the deadly malaria of the Terai 
and adjoining plains. This is owing, in some measure, I 
think, to the high platforms or plinths on which they raise 
their huts, and to their clearing away the rank jungle from 
the immediate neighbourhood of their dwellings, where 
their trim plots of tobacco cultivation, their unveiled women 
in brightly striped skirts, and the straight ridged huts along- 
side a few areca-palms, contrast pleasingly with the squalor 
and rank setting of the hog-backed huts of Bengal. 

In a cultivated clearing here I came upon a young 
leopard in broad daylight, skirting a field of sugar-cane 
only about a hundred yards away. It was peering so in- 
tently into the dense cane-thicket that it did not see me 
for some minutes, and just as it was disappearing into 
that tall growth, I sent a shot after it. Immediately there 
rose a dreadful outcry from a village which, unseen by 
me, lay a few dozen yards beyond where I had fired. 
Thinking that I must have shot some person, I rushed up 
to the village, and was relieved to find that no one had 


been hurt, but that the excitement was owing to a herd of 
wild pigs which the leopard had been stalking, and which 
on hearing my shot and seeing the leopard, had bolted 
pell-mell through the village, scaring the inhabitants. 

I should not advise anyone to return to Kalimpong 
directly across the hills as I did, for the seeming short- 
cut turned out deceptively to be much the longer and 
more fatiguing route, on account of the circuit and badness 
of the tracks. These hill-people have even less true con- 
ception of distance than the people of the plains. They 
under-estimate distances, so that in their "two miles and a 
bittock " the latter usually turns out to be much the bigger 
half, and, curiously, they often tell you that a place is double 
the distance going up hill, to what it is coming down. 

On the way, I passed through several flourishing set- 
tlements of the Lepchas. The families averaged four to 
five children, and several numbered seven or eight ; so that 
the current statement that this race is dying out through 
sheer inanition is scarcely correct. The real reason for 
their disappearance in British Sikhim, is the disappearance 
or "conservation" of their forests, which by cutting off in 
great measure their sources of food, forces them into the 
unreserved tracts of Bhotan and Nepal. They are also losing 
their identity by the extensive absorption of their women 
into the Bhotiya and Limboo tribes, with whom they freely 
intermarry, as they find that their own race is so much 
despised by the more civilized tribes. 

Two of these Lepcha girls, after a good deal of per- 


suasion, sang us some songs to the accompaniment of a 
bamboo flute, and a Malayan harp like a Jew's harp, — all 
decorated with poker-work of a plaited basket-pattern. 
As none of the Lepcha songs have ever been recorded 
before, and they are unlikely to survive much longer, I 
have noted down a few of them from the lips of these 
people, and translated them with the aid of Mr. Dorje 
Tshering, and one of us has rendered their simple melody 
into European notation. 

The words of these idyllic songs refer not only to the 
primitive passion of love, but even to the inscrutable 
mystery of the origin and destiny of man. And in this 
last respect it is pathetic to notice how these Lepchas or 
Rongs specially associate themselves with their ubiquitous 
bamboo, whose stout stem supplies them with huts for 
shelter, with fuel, bows and arrows ; its larger joints afford 
water-jugs, cooking-pots and pans ; its smaller joints bestow 
bottles, smoking-pipes and flutes : its branches make a springy 
couch ; its bark supplies ropes to span their raging torrents, 
also baskets and umbrellas ; and its tender young shoots are 
eaten as food. Indeed, the Lepchas believe they could not 
exist without their beloved bamboos, and no wonder they 
glory in having been "born of equal age with the bamboos." 



i^^ ^^^^^fi fW 

A-chu-le — — — kal tak-bo-ram 







nan ya it - tang sa. Lyang Ta - she ram ya nan it - tang sa. 




Zor-sak dam ku-lang ming tarn a - re - ka. Sham-man-mi zon. 




it - to - tsat ka. Gyi po-bong po-mik it duk kang sa 


? ? ^ 





Mo-tan-chi Rong-kap ka - yu gam O ! 

O Joy! In the olden time the Head-Father-Spirit made the earth, 
(He) the Sky-Existing-One made this earth, 

He clothed the stony bosom of this tearful earth with fertile fields. 
When the men were made and the jointed bamboos and the trees, 
At that same time were we, the sons of the (one-) mother-flesh 

jolly Rongs. 43 

O Joy! The mulberry trees were made with the rice and other 

The running rivers were made with their fleeing fishes, 
The fleeing sky-birds were made with the worms and insects, 
And the rainbow was made by our old first great-grandfather, 
(But) our troubles were made by our old first great-grandmother! 

The plaintive wail of these wild tunes reflects the stern 
surroundings that tinge the lives of these poor people with 
sadness. You seem to hear in their ancient airs the moan 



of the wind sweeping over their rugged rock-cave or lonely 
hut in the forest, or the sough of the storm down the 

The simple melody of this ancient tune shows traces of 
the very old pentatonic scale, says Sir Sourindro Mohan 
Tagore, to whom I showed the score ; and he adds in 
regard to this scale, "though it is observable in the Scotch 
ballads, it is the scale in use amongst Chinese, Japanese, 
and Siamese". 

The next three songs are love-laments, the first by a 
spinster, and the others by languishing swains. 



U - la - dung dut sa 'lam lop - la na tel nom go lop 





* -#■ -0- -#■ 

la nat'-el nom go nom go. Nyel bli diit sa shellop-la na 



t'el nom go lop la na t'el nom go nom go. 

I (am) a maiden like an unopened bud, 

like a pretty supple shuttle, 

like a whirling spinning staff. 
I am a maiden standing like a twirling spinning thread, 

like a bright golden tassel, 

standing (forlorn) behind. 


I am a maiden like a tender coiled bud 
Shiing like a sorrowing bird, 
loudly lamenting like the Tak-mok bird, 

I feel very sad, very sad! 

The reference, in the above and in the following song, to 
the "respected sisters standing behind", relates to the custom 
of the girls of the family of standing behind the guests, 
as waitresses to replenish their drinking-cups. 


Eh Yeh! I feel very sad, very sad. 

Listen! O maidens behind, 

My heart is pierced through and my breath is chill, 

Alas! I feel very sad. 

great head-father, maker of Fate, 
Pray tell me my luck. 

1 feel very sad. 

I am only but a Sham-man youth, a mere boy! 
Why have you troubled me so? 
I feel very sad, very sad! 

O fair one with the flowing hair! 

O fair one with the straight-parted locks ! 

Why have you charmed me so? 

O fair one with the neat parted hair ! 

O old great-grandmother Nyezong, the joiner of our breath ! 

O old great-grandfather Fadung, praised be your names ! 

But why have you created me 

To suffer such heart-breaking sorrow ? 

Other songs sing the praises of their legendary chiefs, called 
Tekong-Tek and Fadung Ting, and their wives Nye-kong 
Nal and Nye-zong No, all of whom are deified and invoked 
in worship. 

Down again in the Sal-tree forest, in the tropical gorge of 


the Teesta, we saw one of the great breeding-grounds of 
the myriad butterflies that swarm over Sikhim. At this 
season, May, and on till the middle of June, the tender 
leaves of the great Sa/ trees were literally alive with vora- 
cious caterpillars, whose droppings fell on the dry leaves 
underneath, with a noise like a brisk shower of hail ; and 
this was going on all day long, for several miles deep, in 
a forest that belts the Teesta and Rang-eet and other tri- 
butaries for some hundreds of miles. These caterpillars 
seemed mainly of two species, and both were distasteful 
to birds, which explains their presence in such overwhelm- 
ing numbers. I collected several of these larvae and offered 
them to some fowls, which, however, rejected them after a 
trial, with disgust, and went on wiping their bills for some- 
time afterwards. One of the species was a bright coral 
colour ; and the other greenish with longitudinal stripes, 
and when disturbed it exuded a bead of malodorous fluid. 
It broke its fall from the tall trees by letting itself down 
by a long silky thread. 

Continuing down the right bank of the Teesta, to its dark- 
affluent "The Black Stream" [Kali-jhora), and then ascend- 
ing towards "the height of the great bent-going river" 
{Mahaldi), we reached, at the " Foot of the Hill" {Rishaf), the 
great Cinchona plantations on the eastern flank of Senchal. 
In this dense, damp, dripping forest the Cinchona plant 
finds a climate like that of its home in the Andes of Peru. 
The Government factory here was well worthy of a visit. 
The successful cultivation of this Peruvian bark, and the 


invention of cheap methods of extracting its quinine, by- 
Sir George King and Mr. Gammie, have reduced the price 
of this drug to almost nominal rates, and so prevented this 
valuable aid to life in the fever-stricken tropics from getting 
into the hands of commercial monopolists. 

A ride of about 18 miles by the new road, up through 
fine moss-covered forest, brought us again to Rangiroon, 
by which we had gone, and thence back to Darjeel- 
ing, which now justified its name as " The Place of the 
Thunderbolt". For, whilst the lower ranges were bathed in 
bright sunshine, a mass of thunder-clouds hung over the 
town, hiding its houses from view, and the rattling peals 
of thunder of the first burst of the rains, echoed up and 
down the valleys. And here in the drenching downpour of 
the 1 20 inches of rainfall, and the clinging dampness of 
the next few summer months, one has almost to live in a 
waterproof, to escape being soaked by the rain, through 
and through like a sodden sponge. Darjeeling, however, 
is going to make some capital out of her misfortune in 
this respect, for a movement is afloat to light the town by 
electricity generated from its excessive rain-supply. 



To see Mount Everest from closer quarters, and the rhodo- 
dendron forests in full bloom, we set out for Sandook-phu 
and Faloot, going northwards along the spur which tends 
southwards from Kanchen-junga, for about sixty miles, towards 
Darjeeling and the Indian plains, and which forms the 
natural boundary between Sikhim and Nepal. This journey 
can now-a-days be done with very much more ease than 
in Hooker's time, for an excellent riding-road now runs 
along the Nepal frontier, with comfortable staging rest- 
houses en route; and Tonglu, the nearest of the higher 
peaks, which took Hooker three long and laborious days 
to reach by a bad native track from Darjeeling, is now 
one day's easy ride of about twenty-three miles, and all 
the way along the cool crest of the spur. 

So, taking advantage of a spell of clear weather at the 
end of March, when a slight fall of snow on the nearer 


ranges had swept the hills from the haze that had hid 
their features for some weeks, we cantered along the road 
to Ghoom, past the large rock of gneiss, and thence on 
foot we threaded the fine forest to the staging-house of 
Jorpokri, on the frontier of Nepal. 

This ferny and moss-grown forest resembled somewhat 
that of Rangiroon, and a walk through it was especially 
exhilarating in the crisp air of early spring. Here and 
there we passed fluttering prayer-flags, tied to twigs where 
water-kelpies haunt the mossy burns; and we met strings 
of sturdy Nepalese trudging along with huge baskets of 
provisions that they were carrying to or from the Dar- 
jeeling market. 

These hardy Nepalese are of many different tribes; and 
though of Mongolian blood, they are all now adopting the 
externals of Hindooism, since their ruling tribe — the 
Goorkhas — have set them this example. 

This ruling race of Nepal, or the "Goorkhas" as they 
call themselves, after the name of their former head- 
quarters at Goorkha, 44 in the Central Himalayas, were little 
over a hundred years ago a small band of military adven- 
turers, the descendants of a few quasi-Rajpoots, or members 
of the Hindoo warrior caste, who had emigrated from India 
and settled at the town of Goorkha, and had intermarried 
with the Mongoloids there. Seizing advantage of the 
breaking up of the old powers and petty dynasties at that 
time, when India and the principal states of Asia were in 
transition, they carved out for themselves a little kingdom 


there. And attracting to their ranks the more warlike members 
of the other tribes, by giving them the honour of their own 
tribal name of "Goorkha", and a share in their spoils, they 
carried their victorious arms for nearly a thousand miles 
through the length and breadth of the Himalayas, covering 


the country with blood. They invaded Tibet in 1792, 
and were spreading beyond Nepal, northwards towards 
Cashmir, and southwards into Sikhim (in September 1788) 
and the Indian plains, until they were hemmed in and 
defeated, in 18 14, by the British troops under General 
Ochterlony, to whose memory was erected that great 


tower of victory, which is the most conspicuous monument 
at Calcutta. 

Now-a-days these Goorkhas have almost disappeared 
from modern politics, though their name is still famous as 
the title of some of the bravest of our native regiments, 
which are recruited from their ranks. As mercenary troops, 
they have fought so gallantly under British officers, cover- 
ing themselves with glory, that their name is almost a 
household word in England. And they have been induced 
to settle in large numbers in British territory, in the 
Kumaon Himalayas to the north of Nepal, and in Sik- 
him to the south-east, in order to supply recruits to our 
Indian regiments as well as to secure them as industrious 

The pluck and good comradeship of the Goorkhas has 
been attested on many occasions, both when they fought 
with us and against us, and I myself have experienced it 
in the Burmese and Chitral wars. So long ago as 1790, 
when, after returning from Tibet, they were assisting our 
forces in the storming of Bhartpur, the chronicler of that 
campaign, Captain Smith, says: "It was an interesting 
and amusing sight to witness the extreme goodfellowship 
and kindly feeling with which the Europeans and the 
Goorkhas mutually regarded each other. A six-foot-two 
grenadier of the 59th would offer a cheroot to the 'little 
Goorkhee,' as he styled him ; the latter would take it from 
him with a grin, and when his tall and patronising com- 
rade stooped down with a lighted cigar in his mouth, the 


little mountaineer never hesitated a moment in puffing away 
at it with the one just received, and they were conse- 
quently patted on the back, and called ' prime chaps.' " 
And when they were pitted against us as our foes, Mr. 
Marshman, the historian, writes: — "The Goorkhas were 
not only the most valiant, but the most humane foes we 
had ever encountered in India, and they also proved to 
be the most faithful to their engagements." They can, 
however, be savagely cruel in their own country, where 
they often gave no quarter, and killed women and children. 
It is probable that in addition to the admiration which we 
cannot help feeling for their bravery, the Goorkhas have 
won our sympathy and confidence by their unswerving 
good faith, and they on their part seem to reciprocate our 
sentiments. As an instance of their desperate courage may 
be cited the deeds of Colonel Bahadur Gambar Singh, 
when assisting our troops at Lucknow, during the Indian 
mutiny. At that time he was only a private, but on one 
occasion he captured three cannon single-handed, and killed 
seven mutineers. This deed of daring was performed with 
only his knife or kookree, and he received twenty-three 
wounds. 45 

Politically, although within the British "sphere of influence", 
and acknowledging, like most outlying Mongoloid states, 
such as Burma, by its periodical embassies, the nominal 
suzerainty of China, the state of Nepal is absolutely inde- 
pendent in its government. And it has all along jealously 
closed the interior of its country against all Europeans, 



not excepting even our political residents, from the illustrious 
Brian Hodgson downwards. Its government is of the auto- 
cratic, oriental kind. The present Prime Minister, who is the 
real de-facto ruler, is called " Ma/ia-ra/a/i", or Emperor, 

Sir Bir Shumshere, K. C. S. I. 

while the king is called Adi-rajah, or " Primordial King ". 
This minister, who is also father-in-law of the present king, 
won his position by a coup detat in 1885. He was edu- 
cated at Calcutta, I have heard, and has proved himself 



an enlightened ruler, introducing several useful European 

We are now passing, on their way to and from Darjeeling, 
many representatives of the various Mongoloid tribes of 


Aged 31. 
Nepal. Those who have adopted the externals of Hin- 
dooism, who crop their hair and wear the Indian Rajpoot 
dress, are broadly classed as the Nepalese proper or 
" Pahariyas" , i.e., Highlanders. These comprise, in addition 
to the Goorkhas proper, the Khas tribe, the Mangar or 
Magar (see portrait on page 309) of the lower ranges, and the 


Gooroongs, a nomad pastoral tribe of the uplands ; and also the 
following #<w-Goorkha tribes : First of these come the Newars, 
who were the semi-aborigines and the ruling race of Nepal 
until displaced by the Goorkhas. They are more civilised 
than the Goorkhas, and form the chief clerks, traders and 
artisans, and some of them still adhere to their old religion, 
Buddhism, despite the ridicule of the Goorkhas. Somewhat 
resembling the Newars, but more purely Mongoloid and less 
civilised, are the Kiranti (or Kirat or Kichak) tribe of the 
wilder valleys of Eastern Nepal. The Limboos, still more 
distinctly Mongoloid and intermarrying with the Kiranti, we 
have already seen. And in addition to several others, there 
are those semi-Tibetans, the Moormi or " Tamang Bhotiyas ", 
who also have adopted the habits and dress of the Hindooized 

But as yet, the Nepalese allow their caste rules to sit 
very lightly upon them. A Hindoo's caste, in practice, 
usually resolves itself into what he will eat and drink, and 
what he will not. The Nepalese, however, have not yet 
much altered their habits in these respects, but eat and 
drink things that are tabooed by every strict Hindoo. 
Thus, most of the Goorkhas, at home, eat buffalo-flesh, 
sheep and pork, and are very skimp with their ceremonial 
ablutions. The Newars and the other above-mentioned tribes 
eat also goats and fowls ; and the highest Nepalese take water 
from the hands of the pork-eating Bhotiyas, a thing that 
would scandalize the lowest out-caste Hindoo of India. 

Though small in stature, these Nepalese have big hearts; 


and in many ways resemble the bright joyous temperament 
of the Japanese, though lacking altogether the refinement 
of the latter. Naturally vigorous, excitable and aggressive, 
they are very law-abiding, driven as they have been to 
obedience by the draconic punishments of their Goorkha 
rulers. The people are hanged or decapitated for very 
trifling offences, as was the case in England not so many 
decades ago ; and this doubtless must tend to purify the 
race by preventing the perpetuation of imperfect types ! 
Certainly in Nepal, these heavy punishments have made the 
people afraid to commit crime. But though the Nepalese 
are becoming plodding cultivators, they Have not yet 
degenerated to the dead level of the present day caste- 
bound Indian cultivator. In appearance the various tribes 
vary considerably, in proportion to the extent of their 
admixture with Aryan blood. Scratch a Russian, it is said, 
and you'll find the Tartar; but the Nepalese, even with 
their thin veneer of Hindooism, do not require this operation 
to reveal their Tartar character. The features of the great 
majority are markedly Mongolian, with oblique eyes, and 
little or no moustache. 

They are generally undersized, but tough and wiry as 
whipcord, and so full of energy that it is quite common 
to see old people scampering nimbly up and down hill 
in preference to walking. Their rough exposed life so 
furrows their features that the flat wrinkled faces of some 
of the older men, as in our illustration, almost suggest 



All dress in the same Hindooized style, and none wear 
pigtails. The men's dress is not by any means picturesque. 


Aged 65. 

It is that of the Hindoo Rajpoots of the Northern Hima- 
layas. It consists of cotton trousers and puny jackets, 
originally white, but so dirty that it is remarkable to find 


any at all approaching this colour. And into their bulky 
towel-like girdle they thrust their peculiar curved knife, 
the Kookree, of which the leather sheaths are sometimes 
richly encased in ornate silver-work. Their head, closely 
cropped — except in the wilder tribes, whose matted hair 
reaches to the neck — is covered by a small pork-pie cap, worn 
perkily on one side, after the manner of our smart cavalry 
soldiers. And most of the younger men beautify them- 
selves by sticking large flowers behind their ears, and the 
more wealthy ones insert plugs of gold into holes drilled 
through their front teeth. 

The Nepalese women, as we have seen, have often 
bright and pleasant faces, and are picturesquely dressed 
in a close-fitting bodice and kilted skirt, with bright 
coloured girdle and sash; and a gaudy silk handkerchief 
is thrown negligently over their head. They overload 
themselves with massive jewellery; enormous gold or silver 
ear-rings, nose-rings, bracelets, anklets, finger-rings, and 
necklets of huge size, made of coral or thinly beaten gold 
or massive silver, or strings of coins reaching down to 
their waist. Indeed, most of the women wear all their 
wealth as well as that of their husbands on their necks 
and faces ; and whenever they get hard up they pawn 
or sell their jewellery. 

Their position is decidedly free, quite as much as in 
Europe. Indeed in married life, like their Lepcha and 
Bhotiya sisters, they are much the better halves. Marriage 
is with them almost always an affair of the heart. Young 


men and maidens become acquainted with each other, and 
courtships and real love-matches are the rule. Whereas, 
with the Indian plains-people everything is arranged by 
the friends, and it is seldom that the bride and bride- 
groom see each other before marriage. The Nepalese are 
monogamous as a rule, and seldom take a second wife 
unless they are not blessed with a family. They are un- 
compromising in their punishment of infidelity, and are 
allowed by the laws of Nepal to cut down their aggressor 
with their Kookree. In British territory, however, where 
they cannot take the law into their own hands, they have 
to be content with a fine only. 

All these tribes agree in the one respect, that personal 
cleanliness is rather at a discount amongst them. Like 
most mountaineers, they seldom use water for ablution, nor 
do they often change their clothes, but sleep in the same 
suit at night. While the Bhotiyas are certainly the most 
immoderately dirty of these hillmen, perhaps the Nepalese 
are the cleanliest on the whole, though most of these 
satisfy their religious scruples by performing the daily cere- 
monial bath that is prescribed to professing Hindoos, by 
merely touching their lips with water, and one or two rubs 
with a few invisible drops of water on the finger-tips, with- 
out undressing. You must not, however, with your European 
dress and known nationality, attempt to enter their houses un- 
ceremoniously, as you would a Lepcha's or Bhotiya's ; for 
in such matters they put on all the airs of the most pre- 
judiced of high-caste Hindoos, and would bluntly ask you 


to withdraw, although your pork-eating Lepchas and 
Bhotiyas and native Christians have the run of the house. 
For your intrusion, if it were noticed by outsiders, would 
necessitate the throwing away of all their cooked food, 
and even the burning and rethatching of their hut. But 
you lose little by not entering their houses, for these 
resemble, as a rule, those of the very meanest class of Hindoos, 
and have not the redeeming interest of those of the un- 
pretentious Lepchas. 

With their thin veneer of Hindooism, the Nepalese have 
adopted a Hindoo dialect, called " the hill speech " (Parba- 
tiya), and it is throughout Nepal like what French used to 
be on the Continent, and what Hindustanee or " Oordu " is 
in India. It forms the chief medium of communication 
between the heterogeneous tribes peopling Nepal, each of 
which has its own peculiar language or dialect ; but by means 
of this common Parbatiya speech all are able to converse 
with one another. 

They are great believers in witch-craft, like the Lepchas 
or Bhotiyas, and regularly employ exorcists whenever they 
fall ill, instead of a medicine-man, as they attribute disease 
to an evil spirit who must be driven out. These exorcists 
they call "the spell-throwers" {Bijooas), as they cure 
by charms and enchantments; and, like the Lamas, with 
their magic they ward off dangers from the people, their 
cattle and crops ; and on the middle of the road on the 
outskirts of more than one village, we passed a small heap 
of bits of cloth, and rice, an old shoe and reeking embers, 


as a peace-offering by these exorcists to the evil spirit who 
had possessed the sick person, after it had been driven 
out by their beating of drums, etc., and bidden to depart 

Their ascetics are somewhat more decently clad, and 
less hideous, than those of the Indian plains. We passed 
a party of them coming down from their penance in the 
wilderness of snows, to taste the luxuries provided by their 
lay patrons at Darjeeling. Their faces were ghastly, smeared 
over as they were with ashes. 

The personal titles of the Nepalese are peculiar, in that 
the proper personal name of the individual is scarcely ever 
used, even by their nearest friends. This is not done, 
apparently, because it is- deemed unlucky. As all men 
are brothers, they are usually addressed simply as "elder 
brother" [dajti), and the women are called "elder sister"; 
or they may be called by one or other of certain titles, 
all of which are considered to be more polite than the 
proper name of the individual. These tribes do not appear 
to have any totems, or beasts specially sacred to the clans, 
like the mountaineers of Central India, as found by V. 
Ball and others. 

In our walk, after passing the old Lepcha custom-house [Ja- 
gat) and "The Pen of the Pigs" {Soongri-tar), those animals 
so dear to the Nepalese, we reached " The Dried-up Tarn " 
that gives its name to a considerable market village {Sookee- 
pokree) of the Nepalese, where we met a marriage procession 
of Limboos, preceded by pipers who skirled like Scottish 



bagpipers. Thence, we ascended through the woods to the 

rest-house at "The Pair of Tarns" {Jor-pokree), where we 

tasted the good things that Achoom had provided for us. 

Here we were serenaded by a wild-looking, unkempt mu- 



* 111 



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sician on the most primitive of one-stringed fiddles, an 
instrument that one of us became the proud possessor of 
for sixpence. And we had other serenaders. Swarms of 
frogs, embowered among the reeds of the adjoining tarn, 


kept up a nocturnal chorus of murmurs. The natives of 
these parts, the Newars just mentioned, worship these 
animals in the belief that they send rain to their crops. 46 
And here also were tree-frogs with a bell-like call, who 
capture insects, as do the lizards, by darting out their tongue 
on which is a sticky secretion to which the insects adhere ; 
the pity, however, is, that not only are vermin thus cap- 
tured, but lovely species of butterflies that would gladden 
the hearts of entomologists. 

Next day our path led us through a grand old forest 
of stately oaks and magnolias that stretched out high over 
head, their giant arms draped with a thick mantle of vel- 
vety moss and lichens, and garlanded with ferns and 
ropes of twining creepers. Magnificent orchids clung to 
their moist mossy bark, with flowers of many colours and 
fantastic shapes. One of them is sweet-scented like the 
climbing orchid of Brazil, which yields vanilla. The number 
and variety of the orchids hereabouts is prodigious. They 
are scarcely less numerous than in the adjoining Khasia 
Hills, where Sir Joseph Hooker discovered fully 250 kinds. 

For some of the rare kinds of the "aristocratic orchid" 
fancy prizes have been offered by devotees of the cult. 
The Englishman announced recently and authoritatively, 
that "£ 1,000 is the reward attached to the re-discovery of 
the long lost Cypripedinm Fairieamim. A popular de- 
scription of its leading 'points' may encourage some enthusi- 
astic planter to the search, may induce him to follow out 
its romance of botany, unless, indeed, the plant is extinct 


in its native habitat, wherever that may be. The flowers 
are produced singly and are exceptionally attractive ; the 
dorsal sepal is large and white, yellowish green at the 
base, beautifully streaked with brownish purple; the two 
necktie-like petals are similar in colour, fringed with black 
hairs, deflexed and curiously curved at the ends ; the pouch 
of the "lady's slipper" is a dull purple, suffused with dull 
brown and veined with green — one of the prettiest of the 
Cypripediums. Big sums have been spent in the search for 
it, and the offer of Messrs. Sander is surely sufficient 
earnest of their confidence, and they ought to know best, 
that it will yet be found, probably at the foot of the hills 
in Assam, probably in Bhotan (probably in Sikhim). The 
' long-felt want ' among orchid growers is a blue orchid. 
Curious it is that while the flowers are arrayed in all the 
tints of the rainbow, every conceivable gradation of colour, 
tones and shades innumerable, blue is almost unrepresented. 
There is a legend that a blue Habenaria is to be found 
in Sikhim, somewhere beyond the frontier; that it has been 
found, and that it has a place in the great orchid herbar- 
ium bequeathed in trust to Professor Reichenbach to be 
kept sealed for twenty years, the contents of which will, 
however, be ultimately given to botanical science in the 
stately Reichenbachia, an illustrated work in folio. A work 
which is understood to be in course of preparation on the 
Orchids of Sikhim, by the learned Director of the Royal 
Botanical Gardens, Calcutta, Sir George King, may give 
some clue as to the whereabouts of this rarity. Queen of 


its class is the Ccelogyne cristata, in great vogue in culti- 
vation. It is plentiful above Darjeeling, at 8 — 9,000 feet, 
whence it was introduced about fifty years ago. The 
flowers are pure white, two to three, sometimes as much 
as four inches across, with a batch of yellow on the lip. 
One seldom fails to meet with good specimens of it in 
those baskets of miscellaneous orchids that are offered for 
sale in Darjeeling, products of a vandalism that is as 
wanton as it is wholesale. It is a great delusion, only 
too commonly experienced, to attempt to cultivate these 
plants in the plains. They may flourish quite fashionably 
one cold season, but they can seldom muster sufficient 
courage to endure a second. They will expend all their 
strength in producing new leaves and have none left for 
the supreme effort of flowering, unless they are sent to 
the hills to recuperate. One hesitates to compute the 
number of thousands of plants that are thus aimlessly de- 
stroyed in each year, lost not only to cultivation, but to 
science, for not a few species are being rapidly and surely 
exterminated." It is to be hoped that the authorities of Dar- 
jeeling and Sikhim may discourage and prevent this whole- 
sale and woeful waste of these "glories of floral creation." 

Some of the giant acorns [Quercus lamellosa et annulate!) 
strewing our path, exceeded two inches in diameter. 

Winding down this forest, over veins of brittle white 
quartz rock amongst the dark grey gneiss, we reached the 
saddle {bhanjan, as the Nepalese call it) in the ridge at a 
crumbling cairn or Mani (6,500 ft.), where we halted for 


lunch ; and then zig-zagged up through a burned forest, 


where the array of tall charred stems stood weird and 
uncanny-looking. Thence we ascended through a glade of 



feathery bamboos, through more gnarled oaks, and, more 
steeply, through dense thickets of dwarf bamboos, relieved 
by the peach-like blossom of the still leafless paper laurel 
{DapJine papyrifcra), from whose tough bark the natives 


make their Japanese-like paper, — to a ridge, at about 9,000 
ft. elevation, where there burst upon our view the gorgeous 
rhododendron forest in full bloom. 

This glorious sight is to be equalled nowhere else in 
the world, for this is the home of the rhododendrons. The 
whole hill-side for miles was aglow with the brilliant colours 


of the rhododendron flowers. These ranged through almost 
every hue, from the bright vermilion of cinnabarinum, the 
blushing scarlet of fulgent, to the crimson of arboreum and 
barbatum; the rose-red of nivale and Hodgsoni, the purple 
of virgatum, the yellow of Wightii, the bluish of campanula- 
turn, to the cream of Falconerii and the white of Dalhousii, 
anthopogon and argentum. The variety in form and size 
of the plants was equally great, many of them were huge 
trees like great oaks (as seen in the illustration on pre- 
vious page), and the profusion of their fallen petals carpeted 
the ground deep with fiery flakes like rosy snow, recalling 
somewhat the aspect of Japan during the gay festival of 
the Cherry-blossoms. Ascending through this gorgeous mass 
of colour and along a path lined with pink primroses {P. 
denticulata), we reached the rest-house of Toom-ling, or 
"Tonglu" as it is called on the maps, at 10,074 ft. 

We spent the afternoon in the rhododendron woods. 
Hooker has described and figured about 24 species found 
hereabouts. The first that we met on the way up is a 
parasitic species (R. Dalhousii). It grows upon and covers 
with its beautiful large bell-shaped white blossoms, often 
seven inches in length, the highest branches of the highest 
oaks and chestnuts. After it, appears the large tree- 
rhododendron (R. arboreum) and then the more brightly 
coloured forms. A strikingly beautiful specimen is the 
creamy flowered R. Falconeri, which grows about thirty 
feet high. Its large leaves are covered with a rusty down 
underneath, and its pale pink bark peels off in flakes, 


giving the smooth silky stem a strikingly fleshy and 
naked appearance, as no moss or orchids can cling to 
it. R. argentuni differs from this last in its having a 
silvery under-surface and its flowers pure white ; whilst 
R. Campbellia, with its bright orange downy leaves, is only 
found above 10,000 ft. Several have sweet-scented flowers, 
for example, R. DalJiousii, Edgworthii and Wightii; and 
the leaves of some of the dwarf species are aromatic and 
are burnt as incense by the Lamas. We did not, however, 
relish the rhododendron-tree as fire-wood for our log-fire, 
as its smoke was most irritating and malodorous. Its dark 
heart wood is used for making the handles of kookrees 
and other knives. Our Lepchas cooked and ate the petals 
of this and some other species ; the cinnabarinum, however, 
they said was poisonous, and often killed sheep, as Hooker 
has noted. 

The sunrise over the snows as seen from the summit 
of this mountain was very fine. Especially graceful as viewed 
from here is the outline of Kanchen-junga, or Kanchen ' 
as we shall now call it for brevity; but Everest is not 
visible, as the dark hill of Sandook-phu shuts it out, nor is 
the range of view so wide as that to be seen from our next 
stage, Sandook-phu, to which accordingly we now set out. 

The road descended gradually to 8,250 feet, passing on 
the way a yak-grazing station — Ghairi-bans, as the Nepa- 
lese call it, where some half-breed yaks or Zo were kept; 
and here we met a whole village of Nepalese emigrants 
who had left their native hills and were en route to settle 


permanently in some tea-gardens near Darjeeling. The party 
numbered about a hundred individuals, men, women and 
children; many of the latter were scarcely able to walk, 
toddling at their mothers ' heels ; and the dust of travel 
was thick upon them all, as they had been about a week 
on the march. 

Beyond a deep saddle on the ridge, where on a pre- 
vious visit I had seen a pack of wild red dogs hunting a 
deer, we emerged all of a sudden from the denser forest on 
to the open grassy slopes of Sandook-phu. Here at a 
tarn of dark peaty water [Kala-pokree], at 10,130 ft. above 
the sea, we halted for lunch. 

Here the grassy slopes, which, sprinkled with pines, 
stretch up to the summit for about 2,000 ft., are thickly 
covered with the deadly nightshade or aconite plant; and 
it is from this feature, I believe, that this mountain de- 
rives its name — to wit, Sandook-phu, which means in the 
Bhotiya or Tibetan language " The Hill of the Poison-plant 
or Aconite." So abundant is this plant here, and so deadly 
to the cattle of these pastoral people, that all the sheep 
and cattle passing over this mountain are muzzled by their 
drivers. And at the foot of the mountain are great heaps 
of these discarded bamboo muzzles. 

The curious circumstance is also noted here regarding 
this poison, which Marco Polo records of this or a similar 
plant in Mongolia — namely, that it only affects fatally those 
cattle that are newly imported from the plains or lower 
levels; whilst those that are bred in the locality do not 


appear to suffer. t7 This is believed to be owing to the native 
sheep learning to avoid the poisonous leaves or to shun 
the youngest leaves, which are the most virulent ; but it is 
difficult to see how they can entirely succeed in doing this 
where the poison grows so abundantly. It is, I think, more 
probable that they get habituated to it, by eating the drug 
in small quantities, as opium-eaters do opium, and as snake- 
charmers are believed to render themselves and their per- 
forming animals immune to serpents' venom, by the re- 
peated injection of small doses of the venom, a method 
which I had many years ago ascertained by experiment to 
be somewhat prophylactic against snake-bite. 48 

Much of the aconite of commerce, that finds its way to 
Europe, and which is so largely used now-a-days by homoe- 
opaths, is gathered on this mountain ; and I have found the 
Bhotiyas in the autumn, digging up the roots wholesale for 
transport to Calcutta. They pay a small fee to the Rajah 
of Sikhim for this privilege, and they get from the native 
dealers at Darjeeling about fourteen shillings for three-quarters 
of a hundredweight of the dried roots. There are several 
species of the plant growing here, including the greenish 
A. palmatum and the deeper blue, the virulent A. ferox 
that is exported for its poison, and which Hooker says is 
merely a variety of "the monkshood" {A. napellus) of our 
gardens at home. 49 The men dig up its roots in late autumn 
after the plant has withered and when its juices, on which its 
activity mainly depends, have mostly returned to the roots. 

This root is also extensively employed throughout the 


Eastern Himalayas to poison the arrows that are used 


Half actual size. 

after big game and in warfare, as our troops found in the 


expeditions against the Sikhimese, and also the Abor and Aka 
tribes of Assam. These arrowheads are sliced with valvular 
crevices to hold the poisonous paste, or made of barbed 
pieces so cleverly pieced together, that any attempt to drag 
them out of the wound, causes the splinters to penetrate 
more deeply. It is noteworthy that the Lepchas eat the 
cooked flesh of the game that they have killed by these 
poisoned arrows, without any bad effects to themselves. 

Snow lay in patches on the path as we zig-zagged up 
the northern slopes of the mountain, through clumps of 
silver pines, and it covered the summit with an almost 
continuous sheet, over which, in the bitter wind, we made 
our way to the rest-house. Here we found the front room 
invaded by a pile of driven snow over a yard deep, that 
had been blown in through a chink in the door. Fires 
were soon lit, but it took us some time to thaw our frozen 
limbs, while Achoom was busy in the kitchen, and we 
needed our warmest wraps. 

Outside, the baffled tempest still howled and whistled 
furiously. The storm-tossed pines threw their splintered 
arms about and sighed, poor things, in the piercing wintry 
blast. But at night the wind died down, and the view of 
the snows in the moonlight was sublime. After the storm 

"the mute still air 
Was Music slumbering on her instrument." 

From a background of almost inky blackness, the graceful 
white-robed peaks and icy horns of the Kanchen-junga 
range gleamed out clear and colossal in the dry frosty air. 


The ice-spangles on the dark pines and rhododendrons 
sparkled like diamonds in the pale moonbeams; whilst in 
the fore-ground, fringing the ice-covered lakelet, the frozen 
" everlastings " projected from the snow, bright and pure — a 
picture in frosted silver. 

The sunrise over the snows was magnificent, and the 
stretch of these latter much wider than that seen from 
Senchal, extending perhaps for nearly 200 miles. We were 
up early to the topmost of the three nipple-like peaks of 
the craggy summit, to see this famous view. As the eye 
wanders over the vast amphitheatre of dazzling peaks it 
is at once arrested by the great towering mass of Kan- 
chen-junga; and the first thing that strikes you is the 
altered outline of both it and its group of peaks, as com- 
pared with that seen from Darjeeling. The long strag- 
gling lines of its outlying snowy peaks and ridges, the 
tent-like Kabru, etc., as seen from the south-eastern aspect 
from Darjeeling, are now foreshortened, and the peaks 
cluster closely together under Kanchen ', which towers up 
majestically over all. This dazzling mountain, almost the 
highest in the world, is magnificent, even as seen from here, 
in its dark setting of pines, and without the deep interven- 
ing valley of the Rang-eet. It is, after all, only 852 feet 
less in height than Everest itself. 

The Everest group, no longer shut out by the dark ridge 
that hid its peaks from view at Senchal, soars up through 
banks of clouds far to our left, and beyond a deep gulf 
of valleys. This group, however, lies much lower on the 



horizon than Kanchen', being so much further away — about, 
90 miles — whilst the latter is about 43 miles. Only the 
peak of Everest is visible. Its base is hid behind the 
shoulder of a great armchair-like snowy mountain, the "Peak 
No. XIII. " of the Survey (see p. 342). 

Scarcely less magnificent than this view up towards the 
snows was the view looking downwards to the plains. 
Some ten thousand feet below us, the rising mist and clouds 
formed a vast woolly white sea, whose tide of rolling bil- 
lows surged in amongst the mountains, of which the dark 
rugged ridges stood out against the fleecy foam, as bold 
capes and headlands and dark islets in this sea of curling 
clouds. And as we gazed, some of these fleecy clouds 
surged over us and crept slowly, like "sheep of the sky" as 
the Lepchas call them, upwards to the snowy pinnacles, 
on which they settle down in flocky masses, veiling the 
peaks against the staring mid-day sun. Towards evening, 
however, these clouds disappear, probably condensed into 
snow in the colder atmosphere, and then we get again 
clear views at sunset. 

The track to the next peak led along the undulating crest 
of the pine forest, through patches of rhododendrons blooming 
brightly amid the snow, past some juniper trees after a few 
miles ; and the ranges of the hills got more and more rugged 
and rocky, as we approached the everlasting snows. Amongst 
the patches of rhododendrons by the way I got two Monal 
pheasants and one blood pheasant; and I saw a wild pig, 
also tracks in the snow of deer, goat-antelope, and a bear. 


The pine forests, however, seemed to harbour little life, 
and their stillness at times seemed uncanny as I walked 
through them a long way ahead of my men, and especi- 
ally so near the ridges, where there were many gaunt 
splintered pines struck dead by lightning, and gnarled 
trunks and writhing roots tortured into weird shapes by the 
icy blast. As I was climbing up the ridge called Sabar- 
goom, or "The Cliff of the Musk-deer", so called after 
those animals (Sa-bar in Lepcha and Lao in Tibetan) which 
used to frequent this ridge, I saw a ghastly sight. Athwart 
the path, stretched on the snow, lay a Nepalese frozen to 
death. Several jackals and an animal like a hyena sur- 
rounded the dead body, beside which were the embers of 
a small fire, and not far off lay the deceased's basket filled 
with his food and belongings. It was evident that he had 
perished through the cold ; that he had arrived here benight- 
ed after the snowfall had ceased, and, unable to proceed 
further, had lit a small fire, and had been betrayed into a 
sleep which proved his last. There was no evidence of a 
struggle. His foot-prints in the snow led up to here, and 
the jackals had evidently come only a few minutes before 
I appeared on the scene, for they had gnawed only one 
arm, and were searching in his basket when I disturbed 
them at their unholy feast. 

Hurrying onwards out of the cutting blast that swept 
over this exposed crest (11,640 ft.), we emerged from the 
pine forest on to the treeless slopes of Faloot, properly 
Fok-loot, or "The Peeled Summit" as the Lepchas call it, 



for it looks from the forest-clad ranges below, as if its 
summit were "peeled" of trees; and my Tibetan porters on 
seeing its bare grassy snow-streaked slopes, sent up a shout 
of joy, and exclaimed, " Now we are again in a treeless 
country like our own Tibet ! " 

It was a long and cold zig-zag up its sides to reach the 
rest-house nestling on the leeward side of its windy top 
(11,810 ft.), and I arrived about an hour before my 
porters, with a perfectly ravenous appetite, but with nothing 
to satisfy it except some Indian corn and capsicums, which 
was the only food that the caretaker of the house pos- 
sessed. He made up for me some of the Indian corn into 
a sort of porridge-like mess, but the capsicums proved ex- 
cruciatingly hot. I was foolhardy enough, on his recom- 
mendation, to eat two when I was almost paralysed with the 
cold. Their effect was instanteous, and for hours my blistered 
tongue reminded me of this fiery food. 

The sunset on the snows was almost as splendid as the 
sunrise had been. As the crimson ball of the sun dipped 
to the western horizon, the snowy pinnacles, gleaming 
fiery red, soared out of the purple sea of pearly haze 
that filled the dividing valleys, up into a sky of deepest 
turquoise, laced here and there with shafts of burnished 
gold. Then followed a swift kaleidoscopic play of colours, 
in which the glittering fiery peaks faded to crimson, pale 
rose, and a cold steely grey that seemed to carry them far 
away, spectral-like, into another world. 

A bear had mauled badly a brother of the care-taker of 


this desolate hut, tearing out his eye and the side of his face. 
Such shocking mutilations are not very infrequent, and ex- 
plain why these people dread a bear even more than a tiger 
or leopard. Not long ago in these same hills an excited 
Nepalese came breathless to my tent, with the news 
that a large bear and its two cubs had mangled two 
men of his village, and had for several days been 
chasing others, so that they were afraid to go about; and 
hearing that a European traveller had arrived, he had 
come to beseech me to go to their aid, promising that if 
I would go, all the villagers would turn out and assist me 
in slaying these animals. As it was then too late to go 
that evening I started early next morning, with my shot- 
gun and shells and a few of my best coolies armed with 
their knives. It was a long and hot way to the village, 
down many miles of ravines. On reaching it, a powerfully- 
built man was led slowly out to me. His head was swollen 
to twice its size, and both eyes and his two cheeks were 
torn out, and their tattered shreds were hanging down his 
neck, and he was groaning in agony. I had no narcotics 
with me to relieve his pain, but I had him laid down and 
bathed his poisoned and inflamed wounds with tepid water. 
I was then told that he was the village blacksmith, and 
that his children had for some days been complaining to 
him that they had been chased by these bears while herd- 
ing his cattle, and yesterday one of his children had been 
overtaken and clawed in the back by one of the young 
bears. Whereupon the indignant blacksmith, relying on 


his great physical strength, and he was indeed a Vulcan 
in physique, went unarmed to the bears ' den and there 
he shouted to the bears to come out. The old bear rushed 
out, and in an instant inflicted on him the terrible wounds 
that we had seen, and so terror-struck were the villagers 
at the sight of these proofs of the power of the bears, that 
although I had come at their special invitation, they refused 
to go with me to attack the bears. The wives pushed their 
husbands inside their huts and barred the doors. And it 
was some time ere my men could force open the doors of 
several of the huts and drag out some of the men. With 
these and my informant of yesterday and a few others 
who showed less cowardice I went off to seek the bears. 
The cave lay about a mile from the village, at the junction 
of two streams, amongst cliffy rocks overgrown with a good 
deal of brushwood. I took up a position about a hundred 
yards off and sent the beaters to throw in stones, but the 
bears seemed to be not at home. At least they gave no 
sign, and did not appear even when I approached to the 
mouth of the cave and fired into it; and we scoured the 
hillsides for some distance without finding them, though 
the trees bore fresh marks of their claws. I sent the poor 
wounded man some opium from my camp to relieve his 
pain, and advised his friends to carry him into the nearest 
hospital, about four days ' journey distant, but from sub- 
sequent enquiries there, I learnt that he had never come ; 
he must certainly have died. 

The view from this peak of Faloot, or " Fa-le-loong " as 


the Tibetans mispronounce the Lepcha name, gives much 
nearer views of the Kanchen ' group, of which the culmin- 
ating peak is now only about thirty miles distant. And 
the horn of "Jannu " in Nepal stands grandly up on the left. 

Everest, however, is scarcely visible from here, as it is 
hid by that great arm-chair-like snowy crater, the " Peak No. 
XIII " of the Survey Department. To see Everest we must 
go further north along this ridge, or return to Sandook-phu, 
from which latter place the top of its peak comes into view 
over the shoulder of this much more imposing arm-chair 
peak, as is shown in the previous illustration and in the 
annexed sketch by Colonel Tanner. And this view, small 
as it is, is one of the very best that is to be got of it, 
outside Tibet and Eastern Nepal, which unfortunately are 
at present closed to Europeans. Indeed, so inconspicuous 
is Everest from any point of view to which Europeans 
have had access (in Sikhim or the Indian plains, or in 
Central Nepal), that it is extremely doubtful whether any 
of the older travellers in these regions were ever able to 
distinguish Everest at all, or as a pre-eminently high moun- 
tain. For even from Sandook-phu and its other available 
points of view (it is not visible from Tonglu or the Kakani 
ridge above Khatmandu), owing to its great distance in the 
interior, behind the outer snowy peaks that tower in front 
of it, its enormous height is not apparent, and this was 
only revealed by the scientific measurements of the Indian 
Survey Department. 

When the great trigonometrical survey of India had, 


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about the year 1850, extended their triangulation to the 
foot of the Himalayas, from this newly gained base, 
measurements were made to the snowy peaks beyond the 
frontiers, and it was discovered, between November 1849 
and January 1850, that in Tibet at 27 59.3' north latitude 
and 86° 54.7' east longitude from Greenwich, a peak rose 
to the enormous height of 29,002 feet, or 8,840 metres — 
the highest measured elevation on the earth. 

The Surveyor-General of that day proposed to the Royal 
Geographical Society of London to give this giant moun- 
tain the surname of his predecessor in office, Sir George 
Everest, to whom the great merit belonged of organising 
the Survey of India on a scientific basis, between the years 
1823-43. A protest against this naming was raised by Mr. 
Brian Hodgson, on the plea that the Nepalese had already 
given to this mountain the name of " Deva-dhunga" , or 
"God's Seat", and " Bhairava Langur", or " The Terrible 
Pass". At the meeting of the Geographical Society held on the 
nth May, 1857, to discuss this objection, and at which Sir 
George Everest was himself present, it was shown to be doubt- 
ful whether any of the alleged native names could be really 
applied to this particular mountain at all. The name "Everest" 
therefore was given to this king of mountains, and it has 
appeared in the English maps ever since. On the continent, 
however, one of the vague Indian mythological names, ob- 
tained by H. Schlagintweit from the Hindooized Nepalese of 
Khatmandu, for a mountain which he supposed to be iden- 
tical with the Everest of the Survey, is usually assigned 


to it — namely, " Gauri-sankar" ', one of the titles of the con- 
jugal Indian god Shiva, the Destroyer, and his wife. But 
it is not generally known that the identity of these two 
mountains has been conclusively disproved by General 
Walker, the late Surveyor General of India, and by Colonel 
Tanner, his deputy. Owing to the curvature of the earth, 
and the interposition of other ranges, it is physically 
impossible to see Everest either from Khatmandu or the 
Kaulia or Kakani peaks, whence H. Schlagintweit believed 
he saw it and got his local name " Gauri-sankar ". As for 
Kanchen-junga, which Schlagintweit says was also visible 
from that position, it is shown to be " fully one hundred 
miles beyond the most remote point visible from that locality." 
And Colonel Tanner has directly proved that the " Gauri- 
sankar" of Schlagintweit is certainly not the "Everest" of 
the Survey, but a much smaller and totally different moun- 
tain. He writes : " I have now before me the panoramic 
profiles and angular measurements of Major Wilson, for 
some time resident in Nepal, who observed from Sheopuri, 
a point on the Kaulia ridge. Schlagintweit's ' Gauri-sankar ', 
the ' Everest ' of successive (political) residents in Nepal — 
was pointed out to Major Wilson, and from his angular 
measurements I am able to identify that peak as ' No. XX', 
23,447 feet, more than a mile lower than Everest, (see map 
on p. 349) and in point of distance very far short of it." 
What then is the native name of the highest measured 
mountain in the world, for it is always desirable to preserve 
the vernacular names of great mountains? The native 


names which have been given to distant Himalayan peaks 
are misleading and confusing, and especially so are the 
Nepalese names. The Nepalese, who seldom themselves 
go near the peaks, are very loose in their nomenclature of 
these mountains, and the names which they apply to them 
generally indicate ranges and not individual mountains, 
except in a few instances, where the peaks, unlike Everest, 
are more accessible and are frequented by Hindoo devotees. 
Of the many natives of Eastern Nepal of whom I asked the 
name of Everest, not one ever called it " Deva-dunga " or 
" Gauri-sankar ". This latter name for a hill they had never 
heard of, though many hills were called Deva-dunga or 
"God's seat". But in regard to Everest they had no specific 
name for it all. They simply called it, in common with all the 
other high snowy peaks, "The White Mountain", or Dhan- 
lagiri, which is the popular generic name for all the snowy 
peaks: " Himalaya", or "The Abode of Snow", is a classic 
term which is unknown to the common people, and is only 
used by Brahmans and the learned. Nor had these men 
any specific name even for that striking crater-like peak 
" No. XIII," which towers over Eastern Nepal and which 
has been pointed out to Colonel Tanner by the Bhotiyas 
as " Khumba-lung," after the valley at its foot; although 
these Nepalese knew it well by headmark, and likened it, 
aptly enough, to a white-shrouded woman in a sitting posture. 
On the other hand, the Tibetans who inhabit the country 
around Everest and who ascend this sacred mountain 
for purposes of worship, as high as they dare, call it and 


the other neighbouring mountains by names which do not 
seem to have been hitherto published, or only partially or 
incorrectly so. The highest range of snowy peaks in this 
region in question, and including the Everest group, was 
pointed out to me by a Tibetan native of Khumbu, the 
province of North-Eastern Nepal bordering this range on 
the south, as "The Five Icy Horns of Khumbu" (Khumbu- 
Gang-nga-Ra-waJ. Whilst the highest part of this range, 
that is to say what we have called the "Everest group" 
and including " Peak No. XIII", was called by him Lap-chi- 
Kang, or "The Outer-Glacier Pass"; and the culminating 
peak, i.e. Everest, was called Jomo-Ka7ig-kar, or " The Lady 
White Glacier". These latter two names have already been 
mentioned by Baboo Sarat C. Das as the cognomen of the 
Everest range and its highest peak. But my informant said 
that this range is properly the " Lower Lap-chi-Kang," in con- 
tradistinction to the Upper Lap-chi-Kang, which he said, was 
much higher, and lay in Upper Tibet, almost due north of 
this Everest group, but was not visible from Khumbu or 
any part of Nepal. 

There seems no doubt as to this nomenclature, for I have 
seen in Tibetan books "the Upper Lap-chi-Kang " noted as 
a high mountain, as well as the Lap-chi-Kang on the Nepa- 
lese frontier; and in the vernacular topography of Tibet, 
which has been partly translated by the above-named Baboo, 
the peak of Jomo-Kang-kar comes second in the list of the 
highest mountains, and is described as lying in this locality, 
in these words, which may be followed in my accompanying 



sketch-map. "To the east of the Kirong district lies 
Nalam, (Nyanam) in the vicinity of which are Gung Tang, 
the birthplace of the translator Rva; also the Toipa cave, 
the hermitage of saint Milarapa ; and Chu-bar, the place 
were Milarapa died, — all these places lie on the Tibet-Nepal 
boundary. Close to them are the hermit-monasteries of Phel- 
gya-ling and Tar-gya-ling, in the neighbourhood of that 
grand and very lofty snowy mountain called Jomo-Kang-kar, 
and at the foot of Lap-chi-Kang, on the top of which dwell 
the five fairy sisters of long Life, the Tse-ring-chenga, the 
patrons of St. Milarapa. At the foot of Lap-chi-Kang, on 
the Tibetan side, are five glacial lakes, sacred to these five 
fairies, and each differs from the other in the colour of its 
water. To the north of these monasteries lies Kyema lake, one 
of the four great glacier lakes of Tibet . . . Travelling north- 
ward from Nyanam, one arrives at the foot of a lofty mountain 
named the Gung-Kang pass, which is guarded by the twelve 
she-devils called Tan-ma, who were bound by the spells of 
"The Lotus-born One" (the founder of Lamaism) to prevent 
the entry (this way) to Tibet from India of the enemies of 
Buddhism . . . After crossing the Gung Tang pass and going 
northwards, you arrive at the district of Tengri (Dingri) . . . 
A Chinese guard with Tibetan militia is posted at Tengri." 
This description is generally confirmed and amplified by 
a curious Tibetan picture of this mountain, for a copy of 
which, as well as some notes on Everest, I am indebted to 
Mr. A. W. Paul, C. I. E. The Tibetans, as I some years 
ago noted, 5I worship Everest as the abode of the five celestial 


nymphs above named, who are supposed to confer long 
life — a cult which is also common to the Chinese and 
Japanese. The Tibetan pilgrims ascend its sides up to the 
glaciers for worship, and they also visit the tomb of the 
great high-priest of these deities of long-life — namely, the 
popular Saint Milarapa. In this picture the tomb of the 
saint is shown on the southern flanks of Everest, and the 
various temples and hermitages and shepherds ' hamlets 
there. This bird's-eye view of the lower slopes of this 
little-known mountain gives interesting details of the tracks, 
rivers and bridges, and is inscribed with the name of the 
places. The summit of Everest is depicted conventionally 
by the Tibetan artist as ending in five snowy horns with 
their tips cloud-capped. In the vista to the north of this 
mountain is written Na-lam (a colloquial form of Nanam or 
Nyanam), in the top left-hand corner, and " Dingri District" 
in the top right-hand corner, which with several other known 
names fix its topographical position. 52 

Until, however, we obtain access to the Lap-chi-Kang range 
and directly confirm these identifications of the peaks on 
the spot, it would be premature to consider what should 
be the ultimate designation of the peak which is now known 
to our cartographers as "Everest" — whether or not it should 
be called by the hybrid term " Kang-kar-~Everest." 

The form of Everest has seldom been delineated. The 
reputed drawing of it by H. Schlagintweit which is 
treasured at the India Office was made from the peak 
of Tonglu, whence, as Colonel Tanner points out, this 








































*o a 





mountain is not even visible, nor is it scarcely visible from 
Faloot; and we have seen that the " Gauri-sankar " of the 
Nepalese is a different and much smaller mountain al- 
together. The usual authentic picture of Everest represents 
its peak as seen from Sandook-phu, a point from which it 
is ioo miles distant. This has already been shown in the 
preceding illustrations (pp. 331 and 342), and in the telescopic 

{Distance of Everest about 126 miles, and '■'■Peak XII I" about 11S miles) 

drawing by Colonel Tanner. And here it is to be noted, 
that the fanciful pictures purporting to have been made 
from somewhat the same point of view, contained in the 
book entitled " Indian Alps ", are quite unworthy of con- 
sideration, as portraits of this or any other of these peaks. 
The shape of the peak of Everest, as seen from points 
further to the^west in the Indian plains, is sharper and 
shows more details than from Sandook-phu. The ac- 


companying two profiles of such views of it I reproduce 
from Colonel Tanner's careful telescopic sketches, as they 
give its outlines much more distinctly than the photographs 
which I took of it, when traversing that line of country at 
the foot of the Himalayas, from the north of Lucknow 
along the border of the Nepalese Terai to Sikhim. The 
Himalayas of Central Nepal as seen from the Someshwar 
range on the Gandak river are beautifully shown in the 
annexed drawing by Colonel Tanner. 

Withj-egard to the statement by Baboo Sarat Das, that 
"its summit" is "a rounded dome", Colonel Tanner writes 
that the Baboo " is not an explorer . . . his note on Everest 
is worthless . . . The sharpest peak as seen from the south, 
whence my sketches have been made, would from the north, 
whence Baboo Sarat C. Das supposed he saw the moun- 
tain, bear nearly the same outline. However, supposing that 
from the Tibet plateau to the north of Everest the moun- 
tain assumed a somewhat rounded aspect, it still must be 
remembered that the round-topped peaks, averaging some 
25,000 ft., situated on the north spur of Everest, would most 
probably intercept the view of the highest peak from the 
Baboo's point of view, and by him be mistaken for it." 

It so happens that I visited in clear weather the very 
spot whence the Baboo saw the view in question. His point 
of view was not at all north as Colonel Tanner believed, 
but the Semo pass, or in Lepcha " Sema-rum ", to the west of 
the Kang La, about sixty-five miles E.S.E. of Everest, and 
it will be seen from the profile and description of that view, 


which I give in Chapter XI, p. 420, that the peak supposed 
by him to be Everest was certainly not that mountain, but 
the lower " Peak No. XIII. " There also I give a sketch of the 
precipitous north-eastern face of Everest hitherto unfigured, 
and refer to several other, as yet unidentified, sacred 
mountains of Tibet, said to surpass Everest in height. 
Unfortunately, the travellers who have of late years visited 
Tibet have traversed a line of country too far to the north 
to throw light on this question of the mountains in this 
region, which are alleged to be higher than Mount Everest. 
As to the possibility of anyone ever ascending Everest, 
a celebrated climber 53 says, " Considering how much more 
gradually the rarity (of the air) increases between 20,000 
and 30,000 feet than it does at inferior levels, I have 
every confidence that the highest mountain in the world 
will, if Nature has not forgotten a ladder to it, be some 
day trodden by human foot". 



The frosted peaks of Chola gleamed 

Broken and bare and bold. 
On the glittering crest of Kanchen' streamed 

The sunlight clear and cold. 
The fleeting clouds brief shadows flung 
On mighty Jannoo's brow, or hung 

On Pandim's forehead near. 

C. Macaulay's Lay of Lachen. 

The southern glaciers of the Kanchen-junga group, and 
the outlying peaks of Kabru, Pandim, etc. have been ap- 
proached, on the few occasions they have been visited, usually 
by way of the long and deep tropical valley of the Rang- 
eet, with all its attendant discomforts of heat, bad roads, 
and insect-pests. I decided, therefore, to try the track 
along the cool ridge from Sandook-phu, as there was a 
good road and rest-houses for two stages beyond that point, 
without any dipping down into tropical forest, and only 
thrice apparently had part of this ridge beyond the last 


staging-house been traversed by Europeans, and the greater 
part of it not at all. 

Leaving Darjeeling, on the 14th September, 1896, in a 
drizzle like a mild Scotch mist, that scarcely wetted us as 
we went, but brought the colour to our cheeks, and that 
cleared up every now and then to give us charming cloud 
effects, we found the walk through the woods to Jor-pokree 
and Tonglu more delightful than ever. The rich variety 
of dark greenery in the mossy dells and ferny grottoes 
under the giant moss-covered trees, luxuriant in the dripping 
dampness of this season, was relieved by the bright and 
velvety begonias, delicately oink and blue hydrangeas, 
orange gingers, and giant-stag moss which clambered over 
the bare cliffs of gneiss. We stopped often by the wayside to 
pick the black brambles, and higher up the red raspberries 
and barberries that overhung our path, keeping a sharp 
look-out for the leeches. And every here and there the 
wild cucumbers, trailing gracefully like vines, covered the 
shrubby undergrowth of polygons with a profusion of bright 
yellow blossoms. No less than two species of these cucum- 
bers have been named after a former official of this dis- 
trict — it is something, perhaps, to be famous even from a 
gastronomic point of view. 

It was still showery next day, and windy, as we 
pushed on to Sandook-phu through the rhododendron forest, 
which now was in seed ; and we passed frequent clumps of 
holly, wild rose trees bearing brilliant scarlet hips, bar- 
berries blue and yellow, rowan trees with bunches of rusty 



red berries, and juicy red currants. And when we emerged 
on to the almost treeless grassy slopes of Sandook-phu we 
found them blue with the flowers of the deadly aconite. 
As we ascended this mountain, the rain stopped and gave 
us good views of the neighbouring hills, but no sight of 
the snows. In the afternoon the rain set in again, and 


with heavy wind continued all night and next day, confin- 
ing us to the rest-house, where we found plenty to do in 
drying the skins of birds etc. shot on the way. Our coolies, 
mostly Tibetan Bhotiyas, amused themselves at various 
pastimes and games of strength, including pitching at a 
mark and putting the stone. At this last game, in trying 
to out-throw my men, I strained the muscles of my back 
badly, and was in agony for some hours. We were amused 


to find in the faces of these beardless sons of Tibet 
and Sikhim, despite their Mongolian cast of the eye, 
several absurd resemblances to Europeans. One whose 
features clearly suggested Lord Ripon we used to call 
"His Lordship"; and another, a young Lama, broad- 
jawed and deep-chinned, was so full of unvarying good 
humour and high spirits, that we involuntarily christened 
him "Pat". 

We marched to Faloot next morning (the 1 8th), as the 
weather was clearing and giving splendidly crisp views of 
the snows. The following morning we witnessed at Faloot 
that striking aerial phenomenon, the Spectre of the 
Brocken. Wreaths of thin mist were rising and floating 
around us as we ascended the summit of this hill to see 
the sunrise, and a denser cloud of fog hung below us. On 
the surface of this last misty veil our shadows were pro- 
jected by the rising sun as silhouettes, surrounded in con- 
centric widening circles by first a dazzling white halo, 
then a rim of brilliant rainbow, and finally a secondary 
paler rainbow band. As we moved this apparition moved, 
and it stopped when we stopped. Altogether it seemed so 
supernatural that Kintoop and the other man, who was 
carrying my camera, threw themselves on the ground and 
muttered a prayer and some spells, and Kintoop declared 
that he had only seen it once in his life before, and that 
the Lamas say that it is an omen of great good fortune. 
I took two photographs of it, but the plates got accident- 
ally spoiled. It lasted about half an hour, until the mist 


lifted. Our clothes were bedewed with the mist, and this 
may have contributed to the prismatic decomposition of 
the light. I have seen it several times when camping at 
the foot of the Himalayas, and in every case the sun was 
low, and there was a rainy mist, both between myself and 
the sun, and in the opposite direction, where the spectre 

Beyond Faloot, the road zigzagged over the ridge down 
to a rocky tarn amongst the pines, where we got a bold 
foreground to the snowy range, and here I shot a wood- 
cock and a solitary snipe. Thence we rose over the bare 
hill of Pang-ka (12,130 ft), so called from the Pang-ka 
pasture grass which covers it. 

This hill is erroneously called on the maps " Singalelah" 
after Hooker, who has also applied this name to the whole 
of this ridge that runs Trom Kanchen' to Darjeeling and 
the plains. It is always difficult to find the proper names 
of these uninhabited and little frequented places, as Hooker 
himself notes ; and it is especially so when the traveller 
does not know the language, and the men who supply his 
information are not natives of the neighbourhood. The 
name intended by Hooker's informant, was, I fancy, " Sing- 
le-/ho'\ or "The Slope of the Alder-tree," which is still the 
Lepcha name for the low-lying and insignificant part of 
the ridge at our next staging-house, which the Nepalese 
call " Ckozv-banjan." As that, however, is a depression 
rather than a hill, and there is no such native name 
as " Singalelah," it is a pity that the latter name 


should be retained for this important southern offshoot 
of Kanchen-junga, which forms a well-defined water- 
parting : as the streams on its western side drain into 
the Ganges, and those of its eastern watershed flow into 
the Brahmaputra. A better name would be the " Kanchen'- 
Senchal " spur. 

On the cold northern slopes of this grassy hill the 
rhododendrons creep up to the very summit in a dense 
tangle, through which the road descends and winds through 
some pine forest strewn with columnar cliffs of gneiss inter- 
spersed with bands of white quartz, like cyclopean masonry. 
We sighted a leopard and a wild boar, and passed the 
tracks of the Serotv deer {Nemorhcedus bubalinus) as we 
dipped to 10,320 ft., at the gap of Chow-banjan (the " Chia- 
bhanjan" of the maps), or "The Pass of the Edible Mush- 
rooms", as this name means in the Nepalese. These plants 
are especially abundant here on the decayed trees. They 
are called by the Tibetans, Shaino, or "the hats", from their 
resemblance to Chinese caps. Our men gathered them in 
basketfuls and ate them cooked, with relish, but we found 
them tough and tasteless. 

The wooden rest-house here was in a ruinous state, 
although it was relatively new, for I had seen it being 
built only five or six years before, and already it was 
tumbling to pieces in this rotting climate. By spreading 
the doors down over the least holey part of the rotten 
floor, riddled with ominous gaping holes, where previous 
occupants had sunk through, we managed to secure a corner 


for our chairs, though we had to shift these frequently to 
prevent them bodily disappearing with us. 

A pass to Nepal leads down from here to the west, to 
the lower valley of Nepal, which Hooker threaded ; and 1 
was surprised to hear from some Nepalese who had been 
to Darjeeling on a prolonged visit, that they would each 
have to pay a considerable poll-tax on their return to 
Nepal, and have to undergo a ceremony of drinking water 
with an official in order to restore their caste, which they 
had lost by entering foreign territory : a sort of a re-initiation 
into their tribe. 

Few Europeans have ever passed beyond this point, 
along the ridge ; 54 for the road from here goes down at right 
angles on the Sikhim side to Pemiong-chi monastery. I felt 
some anxiety as to the track beyond this place, not only 
because Captain W. Sherwill, who in 1852 attempted to 
pass this way to the snows, had to turn back as he reported 
that his further progress was barred by a deep precipitous 
valley which he could not cross, but also because the 
existing maps were not very correct for this locality and 
did not show the route by which I was to go. I had got, 
however, for my guide the headman of the highest village 
in this part of Sikhim, Yampoong, who assured me that 
though the track was very rough and became more and 
more rugged as we approached the higher ranges, still it 
was practicable all the way up to the snows ; and he added 
that no European had ever been over the greater part of 
the route by which we were going. 


I pushed on from here on the morning of the 20th for 
the snows, in very light marching order, taking Kintoop 
and a few picked coolies carrying light loads slung up in 
blankets and waterproofs, and with two very light tents, as 
there are no more rest-houses nor villages. 

A horribly uneven sheep-track led up the ridge, amongst 
shrubby rhododendrons and copses of wild rose bushes, and 
a few alders, which lower down are found in numbers, and 
give this hill-side its name of " Sing-le." It was like walking 
over spikes the greater part of the way, for miles; as the 
rugged rock here is a stratified gneiss that has been thrown 
up at a sharp angle of about 45 , with a dip to the N. E., 
and many of these knife-edges had been further sharpened 
by the splintering action of the frost, so that this constant 
stepping from knife-edges to spikes made our progress very 
tedious, and cut through the boots of many of our men, 
laming them badly. 

When we had gone beyond the peak called Tim-dim- 
boo (11,780 ft.), with its tarns, and begun the next steep 
ascent, my guide, the headman, complained of giddiness 
and sat down, and I too was attacked. There was no 
headache, nor shortness of breath, but a faint feeling, and 
everything seemed to swim and tremble before my giddy 
eyes, and closing them did not relieve this sensation. It could 
not, I think, have been altogether due to the rarefied air, for 
the actual elevation was only about 12,000 feet. It was per- 
haps in some measure owing too ur rapid ascent, combined 
with the dazzling glare of the highly micaceous gneiss rock, 


that glanced brightly in the blazing sun. For, after a short rest 
and a drink of water, (as I always had a man with me 
carrying my water-bottle) and donning my dark goggles, a 
pair of which I gave to the guide, we were able to proceed. 

Our toilsome progress along the narrow precipitous ridge 
grew monotonous, owing to the repeated stiff ascents and 
descents, and halts to recover breath ; and the great clouds 
only lifted now and then to give us glimpses away down 
into the heart of Nepal. 

The track ran along the Nepalese side of the frontier, 
under cliffs formed by the dip to the N. E., and past the 
hill of "Lambi", called on the map "Lampheram" (12,830), 
and, at the fourth mile, along some cliffs of gneiss with caves 
at the deserted grazing-station called Naya, whence the 
stream called the "Tawa" drains down into the Yang-wa, 
misnamed "Changthap" on the map. Across the Senden 
Pass we encamped at a rock on the southern base of 
Migo Hill, twelve and a half miles from Chowbanjan, by 
my pedometer, which was trustworthy. 

On the way we met a few of that nomad tribe of Nepalese 
herdsmen, the Gooroongs, a shifting people, here to-day and 
away to-morrow, who live in rude bowers of leafy branches. 
I bought a sheep from them for our larder, and as it 
refused to come along, one of my coolies, although already 
heavily laden and exhausted, agreed to carry it in addition to 
his load ; and he staggered along the precipices with it tied 
atop of his basket, quite happy in the prospect of receiving 
the lion's share of it, which had been promised to him. 


We had been marching all day long, though making 
slow progress, till darkness set in, and with it rain, when 
we reached an overhanging rock in the forest, where we 
halted for the night. My men built up a ledge for my 
tent as there was no level ground, for the hillside sloped 
down precipitously for some thousands of feet at an angle 
of about 70° ; and they themselves nestled under the rock. 
And though wet and weary by the harassing march, they 
all cheerfully worked away, helping one another to pitch 
the tent, to bring firewood and to fetch water, which last, 
as we were near the top of the ridge, was about half a 
mile down the mountain. I too had some discomforts, for 
my baggy tent leaked badly as it could not be pitched 
properly, and to keep myself dry I had to throw water- 
proofs over me as I reclined, and to get up now and then 
to shake my wraps to turn out scorpions and other insects 
more irritating than interesting. And more than once 
during the night I heard a tree blown down by the storm, 
with a crash like a pistol report. 

In the morning it was freezing hard, and there was a 
glorious sunrise. Fresh snow had powdered the Dui pass, 
about four miles distant, and Kabru almost hid Kanchen ' 
from sight, and the great cone of Chumo-lhari in Tibet 
appeared marvellously crisp and near; and lower down, 
I saw the monastery of Tashiding perched aloft upon the 
top of its isolated conical hill above the Rang-eet. Ascend- 
ing the grassy hill of Migo (13,250 ft.), the view was much 
grander, though Everest was now completely hidden behind 



the crater-like Peak No. XIII. The track led down past 
the cliffs of Nego, a good halting-place with a small stream 
and splendid view. Thence obliquely down the valley, over 
giant flags of fine-grained gneiss like hardened slates or 
flags of paving-stones, lying almost flat with scarcely any 
dip, we descended till we struck the foaming Yang-wa ; thence 
the path ascended a fine valley of pines, where I had a 
shot at a Monal pheasant, and thence up over a bleak 
moorland covered with dwarf juniper bushes, and dwarf 

" peak xm " from migo (13,250). 
rhododendrons like bog-myrtle. Still further up a bare 
rocky defile, weirdly dotted with the tall cones of the 
giant rhubarb, we ascended to the pass of Ghara (14,000 ft.), 
amongst the crags of which, my guide said that he has 
shot the rare Himalayan giant wild sheep, the Ovis ammon 
(in Sikhimese " Sha-pik"), and the snow leopard, as well 
as musk-deer (in Sikhimese "/,#-<?"). 

This guide is a fine, dignified, elderly man, a good specimen 
of the hardy Sikhimese Bhotiya. He has taken off his 
boots and walks barefooted on the stones. He shoots a 


good deal here, especially in the winter months, when the 
cold drives the animals down from the snowy passes, and 
he sends the skins and horns to Darjeeling for sale. He 
can shoot pretty straight too, for, yesterday, with my gun 
he shot two partridges and a flying squirrel on the way. 
He points out as we go, certain plants, and discourses on 
their healing virtues — one of them applied externally and 
internally was so valuable for broken limbs, that it was 
" better than all the hundred and eight great remedies 
put together." He gave me a large piece of turquoise- 
coloured stone, and asked me if I thought it was really 
turquoise. It was evidently quartzite covered over with a 
thin coating of that brilliant verdigris-coloured copper ore, 
" malachite. " On my telling him this, he said that a great 
mass of this green rock towered up a hundred feet high 
about a mile below his village. 

From this pass we continue northwards along the Sikhim 
side of the frontier, over open bare undulating pasture 
land, often without any track, until we reach " The Tiger 
Pass" {Tag-La), about 14,350 ft., with its large tarn, when 
we curve round to the east, immediately under the snow- 
covered Dui Pass, over which we now should go. But at 
the pressing invitation of our guide, who is the headman 
of this place and who says that no European has ever been 
to his village before, I descend tc his Yak farm at Yam- 
poong, although it is about a mile down off our route, 
and I am glad once more to be again amongst the yaks 
and their Tibetan herdsmen. 


Yampoong is a summer grazing-station for yaks, and lies 
on the open undulating grassy slopes above the limit of 
trees, and considerably below the line of perpetual snow. 
It affords excellent pasturage and is well watered by peren- 
nial streams. It contains several marshy flats, a sort of silted 
up "corries." When the winter sets in the yaks are 
driven to warmer quarters farther down this valley of the 
Ringbi. The village contains only three houses, the largest 
of which is the headman's. It is a two-storeyed stone 
building with a shingle roof, and the upper storey is 
occupied by our host and his family. Ascending the sub- 
stantial winding stair, I found a huge log fire blazing on 
the stone hearth in the middle of the room, and around it 
were the members of his family. These made way for my 
cook, a brother of Achoom, who quickly took up his 
position there, and commenced to boil some water for tea, 
preparatory to his culinary operations for a more substan- 
tial meal; and the best corner of the room was cleared 
for me. I had to sit on the floor of rough-hewn logs, as 
there was no chair or stool ; but what I missed most was 
a table, it being by no means easy for a European to eat 
off the floor, sitting level with one's food ; and the smoke 
of the fire caused my eyes to smart badly, as there was 
neither chimney nor window. 

I gave the headman some of my infused tea, sweetened 
with sugar and tinned milk, (as the yaks were not yet 
milked) in an empty soup tin ; and after tasting it, he hand- 
ed it round the family for each member down to the 



lowest menial to take a sip, for these people share their 
little comforts freely with each other. This sweetened tea, 


which was certainly different from their own salted and but- 
tered brick tea, was unanimously pronounced to be deli- 
cious; but a few spoonfuls of my scanty store of whiskey 


which I gave them, was declared to be much more so. They 
were eating cakes made of buckwheat, harsh and some- 
what acid and bitter to the taste. I gave them a few trifling 

The Yak-herds are Nepalese Tibetans, that is Tibetans 
who have settled for some generations in Eastern Nepal, 
in the provinces called Shar-Kambu and Waloong, and 
they are known as "Shar-pa Bhotiyas." They are big, deep- 
voiced men like the Tibetans in general, and dress like 
them. Their women usually dress a little in the Nepalese 
style. They often wear their hair in a loose knot, and not 
done up into a pigtail ; and their dress is a coarse woollen 
cloth, a kind of tartan, coloured blue, red, green and yellow. 

Whilst dinner was getting ready, and as the weather 
was clear, I ascended the hill some distance to get a peep 
at the eastern slopes of the Kanchen' range, which have 
been visited to some extent by several travellers — whereas 
I was now bound for the unexplored western slopes of 
these snows. The mighty Kanchen', under twenty miles 
distant, was almost hidden from view by the bold southern 
end of Kabru, which rose up only about thirteen miles 
off, and Pandim about twelve. 

These two last mountains as well as the eastern glaciers 
of Kanchen ' can be reached from here in three to four 
days, via Jongri and the Guicha pass. Several Europeans 
have visited the former since Major James Sherwill's journey 
there in 1861, and they, like him, took the most direct 
road to Jongri, namely, up the hot valley of the Great Rang- 


eet river to its source amongst the glaciers; and this is 
now certainly much the best and quickest route, since a 
good riding-road has just been made to Pemiong-chi monas- 
tery, on this route, which enables the glaciers to be 
reached comfortably in five to seven days from Darjeeling. 
And as these glaciers lie amidst some of the grandest 
scenery in the whole of the Himalayas, I have no doubt 
that many visitors to Darjeeling will gladly visit them 
when they realize how accessible they now are. 

Jongri (13,140 ft.), which is a small summer yak-station 
of two houses, like this place Yampoong, from which it 
is distant about eight miles N. E., was visited by Ur. 
Hooker, who so admirably describes both it and the journey 
thither from Pemiong-chi monastery. He likens the view of 
Kanchen ' from thereabouts to the view of Mt. Blanc from 
Chamonix, but he was prevented ascending beyond Jongri 
by the snow in the depth of winter. Major James Sherwill 
(not W. S. who attempted the other route) was the first 
traveller to visit and describe the glaciers of this valley. '" 
He visited them in November, and says that the path led 
through the grandest scenery up the river (Praig) to the 
glaciers of Kabru at the grazing-station of Aluktang, which 
the Lamas visit in the rains to worship Mt. Kanchen ' : 
"The grandeur of the surrounding snow-clad mountains and 
the wildness of the scenery of the valley of the Ratong 
(Praig) surpasses anything of the kind I have elsewhere 
witnessed in the Himalayas. On looking directly north up 
the valley, Kanchen-junga rose majestically above everything 



else. Between us and it, thrown completely across the 
valley and only two miles distant, was seen a stupendous 

moraine, a thou- 
sand feet high, 
which forms the 
conspicuous ob- 
ject seen from 
Darjeeling. Im- 
mediately on our right, rose a long 
range of perpetually snow-clad moun- 
tains, running parallel with the valley, 
culminating in the glacier-flaked peaks 
of Kabui Kang (19,450 ft.), and to the 
north Ting-ching-Kang, to the west of 
which rose the formidable peak of 
Pandim, 22,015 ft. in height, at the 
base of which rests the glacier above alluded to, and many 
other masses of debris washed down from above, in wild 
confusion. To our rear, winding its course down the broad 

from Tong-Shyong-Tam. 


valley, the hills on either side covered with dense fir 
forests, was the noisy foaming Ratong." 

Pandim proved too formidable for Mr. Graham and his 
two trained Swiss guides. He says that they purposed " to 
attack it from the north, but, on reconnoitring, we found 
it quite impracticable. I do not know of any more formi- 
dable peak. On the west side it drops sheer, while the 
other three are guarded by the most extraordinary over- 
hanging glaciers, which quite forbid any attempt .... the 
same applies to Narsing ('The Uplifted Nose')." The name 
"Pandim" or " Panden " means in Lepcha, "The King's 
Minister", as it is considered to be an attendant on the 
King of mountains, Kanchen'. 

To resume the ascent to the Guicha pass, Major Sherwill 

goes on to say : " Having ascended the immense mass of 

debris forming the moraine, probably at an elevation of 

15,000 ft., we found ourselves, to our great surprise, standing 

on the top of a stupendous glacier. This huge mass of 

ice and debris descending from the Pandim mountain extends 

nearly across the valley, where it is met by, and abuts 

upon, another glacier equally vast in its dimensions, and 

formed at the base of (Kabru and) the other snow-clad 

mountains on the western side of the valley, the two 

together forming a complete barrier across the valley and 

choking it up to the height of a thousand feet or more. 

The moraine forming the retaining wall to this mass of 

moving ice and debris is composed of rounded and angular 

blocks of highly contorted gneiss, intermixed with pieces 


of syenite, micaceous schist, coarse granite quartz with 


tourmaline crystals, white and pink quartz often containing 
veins of crystallized felspar, and coarse gravel and debris. 


Proceeding onwards, the glacier presented a perfect 
wilderness of blocks of ice invariably covered with the 
stones and debris brought down from the mountain above 
by avalanches, with deep crevasses through which the 
sound of running water was heard. A little way up the 
valley, beyond where the glaciers meet, we observed a 
small lake. Although the surrounding hills were literally 
covered with glaciers of all sizes, and the valleys overhung 
with masses of ice and snow, we observed only one 
avalanche, but frequent loud cracking of the ice during 
the hottest part of the day .... Mounting over the two 
glaciers and proceeding by the lake 500 yards long by 
100 broad, we ascended another immense moraine, which 
confined a third glacier on the west side of the valley 
descending from Kochirang-Kang, on the south-eastern 
shoulder of Kabru (24,015 ft.). This one appeared to begin 
nearly on a level with the top of the mountain range, at 
probably 20,000 feet, then descending by the mountain 
side, came sweeping along the valley in a curve about a 
mile in length, the more elevated portion being formed 
of masses of ice covered with snow, rising in steps one 
above the other, and the lower portion presenting a sea 
of broken masses of ice covered with snow and debris. 
A more stupendous mass of ice and snow it is scarcely 
possible to conceive. Descending from the glacier, we 
proceeded for a mile, occasionally along the dry smooth bed 
of the Ratong, (past a silted-up lake, Chemtang. 15,250 ft.,) 
and over frozen snow, when we arrived at the fourth 


and last great glacier, equal in extent to the others." On 
reaching the northern extremity of this glacier, he arrived 
at the Gukha, or "The Locked pass" — so called, as the 
legend has it, because it was locked against man by the 
spells of a saintly Lama. 

The view from this Guicha pass is thus described by 
Major Sherwill. " We found ourselves standing on the 
watershed between Kanchen ' and the Pandim, Kabroo, 
and Junnoo ranges to the south and west. We were at an 
elevation of about 18,500 ft. (? 16,430), and had we pro- 
ceeded farther, we should have had to descend into what 
appeared to us a perpetually snow-covered valley. Kanchen ' 
stood apart, unconnected with any of the high mountain 
ranges to the south. The nearest spot not covered with 
snow in its southernmost spur was probably not more than 
a mile and a half or two miles distant, the stratification 
of which was clearly visible. Its formation is probably of 
gneiss, not of a contorted type, and which has a dip of 
20 to 25° to the east. Others may determine the interest- 
ing point of its geological structure, but this important 
fact was elicited — namely, that Kanchen ' is detached from 
the other mountains forming the Kanchen ' group, and that 
none of its waters find their way into the Great Rang-eet," 
as Hooker supposed. 

The south-eastern glacier of Kanchen' to the north of 
this pass was visited by Mr. W. Graham on March 31st, 
1883. He writes: — "We crossed the pass, rather over 
16,000 feet, and descended first to a level bit of grass land 

from Tong-Shyong (17,000 feet). 


containing five small tarns, and then a further descent to 
the great glacier, which flows almost due east from Kanchen'. 
Right above us rose the towering crags of Siniolchum 
(PSimvovonchum), behind us lay Kabru and Pandim, so 
that we were absolutely surrounded by the snowy giants." 

from Tong-Shyong (17,000 feet). 

The stupendous glittering spire of the south-eastern face 
of Kanchen' as seen to the north of this pass, is beautifully 
shown on page 381 from a photograph by Mr. White, who 
also took the other fine photographs here reproduced to 
illustrate this region. Its south-eastern glacier is also seen. 
These photographs show that the great precipice below 
this southern pinnacle of Kanchen' (27,820 ft.) is likely to 


prove an insuperable obstacle to any attempted ascent from 
the south ; but the north eastern slopes by way of the 
Zemu glacier or across the "Gap, 19,300 feet", look more 
hopeful ; and in the opinion of Mr. Freshfield these photo- 
graphs show that there is here possibly a route not steeper 
than that up Mont Blanc from Chamonix. Here, too, 
there is obviously a " Grand Plateau " at the base of 
the final crest. 

Mr. Graham, describing Kanchen ' from a climber's point 
of view, says, " I do not call it impossible, but improbable 
in the highest degree. The peak runs east and west like 
a wall, the two aretes being the most frightful imaginable. 
From the south nothing but a fly could make the ascent, 
as it is overhung in two or three places. From the north 
it is one continuous slope of rock and ice at a mean angle 
of 50 and more than 15,000 ft. of rise". 

The north-eastern glacier of Kanchen ' which descends 
the Zemu valley already referred to, is about sixteen miles 
long, which is the longest in Sikhim. 

The geological position of Kanchen ' is obviously in the 
main axis of the Himalayas, although that mountain lies 
considerably to the south of the line of water-parting between 
the Tibetan plateau and India, and on a spur which runs 
at right angles to this line, so that even the drainage of 
its northern slopes flows directly down into the Indian 
plains. Still Kanchen', nevertheless, may be regarded as 
lying upon, and forming part of, the true main axis or 
back-bone of the Himalayas, and its position to the south 


of the present water-parting may be accounted for by 
its northern drainage finding its way through a gap in 
the main axis, left by interruptions of the force which 
elevated the Himalayas ; while the basin to the north has 
become further deepened by erosion of the Tibetan plateau. 
Thus several of the great Tibetan rivers, such as the 
Gandak, Kosi and Arun, appear to pierce the main chain 
of the Himalayas [vide my map on p. 349), and even the 
Tsang-po itself and the Indus turn round the ends of the 
range to escape into the Indian Ocean. 

In the upheaval of the Himalayas there appear to be 
three main lines of elevation running more or less parallel. 
The middle of these lines or axes, the so-called " Central 
Himalayas", contains the highest peaks, and runs through 
Kanchen ' by Jannu to Everest etc. The line of the " Northern 
Himalayas" bounds the southern side of the Tsang-po and 
Upper Indus valleys — immediately north of which the ranges 
have been named the " 7>«;z^- Himalayas " (see p. 349). The 
line running through Tonglu, including Senchal and Darjee- 
ling, Tendong, Lingtu etc., forms the " Southern or Outer 
Himalayas ". And the small outlying detached range of sand- 
stone hills, the " Siwaliks", running from Dehra Doon by 
Someshwar to Sookna, have been called the " Sz^-Himala- 
yas". Such nomenclature should be remembered in referring 
to the different portions of these enormous ranges of moun- 
tains which collectively go by the name of the Himalayas, if 
we would avoid unnecessary confusion or ambiguity. 

The rocky structure or formation of the back-bone of 



the Himalayas, as seen in Kanchen ', seems to consist 
mainly of white granitic rock and quartz in the loftier 
crests, and of crystalline schists in the lower, through which 
latter numerous veins and sheets of molten granite and 
gneiss have been extruded. Some of the peaks, such as 
"No. XIII and D 1 ", are suggestively like extinct craters, and 
the numerous hot springs in the higher ranges attest the 
present existence of latent volcanic activity in these regions. 
The highest peak of Kanchen-junga and the true summit, 
(28,150 ft.) is called by the Tibetans "The Repository of 
Gold." This name, it seems to me, has arisen from the inter- 
pretation of the popular name of this mountain in too 
literal and mythological a manner. The name Kanchen- 
junga is Tibetan and means, literally, "The Five Repositories 
of the Great Glaciers," and it is physically descriptive of 
its five peaks. When, however, the patron saint of Sikhim 
wrote the manual of worship for this mountain-god he con- 
verted these five "repositories" into real storehouses of the 
god's treasure, and the god himself was represented as a form 
of the Buddhist God-of- Wealth, as is figured at page 217. In 
this way the loftiest crest, which was most conspicuously gilded 
by the rising and setting sun, was made the treasury of gold ; 
the southern peak which remained in cold grey shade till it 
whitened in the rising sunlight was made the treasury of silver, 
and the remaining peaks were made respectively the treas- 
uries of gems, grain and holy books — the chief objects worth 
treasuring, in the opinion of the religious Tibetans. 

The worship of this mountain-god. which dates back to 



long before the Buddhist period, is celebrated with great 
pomp every year throughout Sikhim. It is of the devil- 
dancing or Shamanist kind. The Lamas dress themselves 
in the costumes of the pre-Ruddhist Tibetan religion, the 
so called "Bon", and carry out the ritual of the devil- 
dancers, as seen in the accompanying photograph, where 


our friend, the young Lama of Phodang who so hospitably 
entertained us, is seated in state to receive the offerings 
from the people, of money, jewellery etc., to defray the 
cost of these ceremonies. 

The Lepcha name of this mountain is Kong-lo-chu, or 
"The Highest Screen or Curtain of the Snows." 


It was from Jongri, too, that Mr. W. Graham made his 
famous ascent of the peak which he believed to be Kabru, 
and also of the Kang-La pass. Leaving Darjeeling on the 23rd 
March, 1883, with a Swiss guide, he reached Jongri on the 
29th, and calculated that in that distance of forty-two 
miles, as the crow flies, the road ascended 23,000 ft. and 
descended some 16,000 feet in vertical height to reach 
Jongri (13,140 ft). 

In the second visit in September he climbed Jubonu 
(21,400 ft.). Of this he writes: — "Early on the 30th 
September, 1883, we started for Jubonu, which lies imme- 
diately east of our camp. At 2 p.m. we had reached a 
suitable place, well above snow-line, and camped there. 
Height by aneroid was 18,300, and though absolute reliance 
cannot be placed on such uncorrected observations, I think 
that at least 18,000 may be taken as correct. We got 
off at earliest dawn the next day, i.e. at 4-30, and settled 
down to our work at once, leaving the coolies behind. 
The snow was in good order, and Kauffmann led the way 
at a great pace. He is, I believe, generally admitted to 
be the fastest step-cutter living, and this day and afterwards 
he fairly surpassed himself. The glacier was crowned with 
steep rocks which formed the edge of a noble amphitheatre 
formed by Jubonu and Nursing. We were now on the 
peak itself, and proceeded to cut up a steep snow couloir. 
This gradually got steeper, till we were forced to take to 
the rocks. With the exception of one place, which greatly 
resembled the celebrated Chimney on the Matterhorn, we 


got along very well till we reached the final crags, which 
rose some 300 feet above us. We now turned northwards 
along the slopes of the glacier which swept down from 
the rocks. Fortunately there was an incipient bergscJirund, 
and we passed along in this to the north side, whence a 
short but exceedingly steep slope of neve led us to the 
summit, which we reached at II a.m., without a halt. This 
was incomparably the hardest ascent we had in the Hima- 
laya, owing to the great steepness of the glacier work." 

His celebrated ascent of the peak, which he believed to 
be Kabru, 24,015 feet — the ascent of which, if proved, 
would be the highest point hitherto reached by any mount- 
aineer — has been disbelieved by the Indian surveyors. His 
ascent is thus described by himself: "On the third of 
October we examined carefully the east of Kabru, and 
made all preparations for an assault. On the 6th we finally 
started, and made our way up the eastern glacier of Kabru. 
On its banks we met with immense quantities of Edelweiss, 
the climber's flower, and success was prophesied accordingly. 
Up the highest moraine I have seen, fully 800 ft., brought 
us right under the east cliff of Kabru. There was only 
one route to the higher slopes, and that we could not find 
in the mist. Heavy snow fell, and we camped where we 
were. Next day we found our opening, and worked up 
it. We three went on ahead, and pushed straight up the 
face of the ridge, intending, if possible, to camp on the 
summit. This we reached at midday, but found that we 
were cut off from the true peak by a chasm in the arete, 


so that we were on a detached buttress. We descended, 
met the coolies ascending, and turned north along the 
steep snow slope, finding at last a small ledge just big 
enough to accommodate the Whymper tent. 

" This was, I think, the highest camp we had, being cer- 
tainly 18,500 ft. The night, however, was mild, and the 
coolies, who were very tired, preferred to stay up, instead 
of descending as before. We were off next morning at 
4-30, and found at once all our work cut out for us. The 
very first thing was the worst. A long couloir like a half- 
funnel, crowded with rocks, had to be passed. The snow 
was lying loose, just ready to slide, and the greatest 
possible care had to be taken to avoid an avalanche. Then 
a steep ice slope led us to a snow incline, and so to the 
foot of the true peak. Here we had nearly 1,000 ft. of 
most delightful rockwork, forming a perfect staircase. At 
ten we were at the top of this, and not more than 1 ,000 ft. 
above was the eastern summit. A short snack, and then 
came the tug of war. All this last slope is pure ice, at an 
angle of 45 deg. to nearly 60 deg. Owing to the heavy 
snow and the subsequent frost, it was coated three or four 
inches deep with frozen snow, and up this coating we cut. 
I am perfectly aware that it was a most hazardous proceed- 
ing, and in cold blood I should not try it again, but only in 
this state would the ascent have been possible in the time. 
KaufTman led all the way, and at 12-15 we reached the 
lower summit of Kabru, at least 23,700 ft. above sea-level. 

"The glories of the view were beyond all compare. 


North-west, less than seventy miles, lay Mount Everest, and 
I pointed it out to Boss, who had never seen it, as the 
highest mountain in the world. ' That it cannot be,' he 
replied; 'those are higher' — pointing to two peaks which 
towered far above the second and more distant range, and 
showed over the northern slope of Everest. I was astonished, 
but we were all agreed that in our judgment, the unknown 
peaks, one rock and one snow, were loftier. Of course, 
such an idea rests purely on eyesight; but looking from 
such a height, objects appear in their true proportions, 
and we could distinguish perfectly between the peaks of 
known measurements, however slight the differences. How- 
ever, we had a short view, for the actual summit was con- 
nected with ours by a short arete, and rose about 300 ft., 
of the steepest ice I have seen. We went at it, and after 
an hour and a half we reached our goal. The summit was 
cleft by three gashes, and into one of these we got. The 
absolute summit was little more than a pillar of ice, and 
rose some thirty of forty feet above us still, but, independ- 
ently of the extreme difficulty and danger of attempting 
it, we had no time. A bottle was left at our highest point, 
and we descended. The descent was worse than the ascent, 
and we had to proceed backwards, as the snow might 
give way at any moment. At last we reached the rocks and 
there fixed a huge Bhotiya flag, and finally turned into 
camp at ten. The ascent was dangerous rather than difficult, 
but without the new snow the difficulties would have been 
enormously increased. ' 


Commenting on this ascent, Sir Martin Conway writes 
to me: — "The question of Mr. Graham's ascent of a big 
mountain in Sikhim is a very difficult one. His recorded 
sensations, and those of his companion, are not compatible 
with his having reached an altitude exceeding 20,000 ft. 
It was the unanimous opinion of the Indian officers and 
members of the Survey with whom he conversed shortly 
after his ascent, that his observations were not consistent 
with an ascent of Kabru. The natives who saw him on 
the mountain said that it was not Kabru he climbed, but 
another and much lower peak. I believe he stated that his 
aneroid read about 24,000 feet on the top. Knowing as 
we now do, and as at that time was not known, how 
aneroids behave at high altitudes, this is a further proof 
that his peak must have been many thousand feet less 
than 24,000 feet in height. All this implies no attack 
upon Mr. Graham's veracity. He carried no instruments, 
and made no observations for position. He merely 
believed that the peak climbed was Kabru. Nothing is 
easier than to make a mistake in such a case. It is only 
when an observer's position is determined and confirmed 
by a series of observations, and his altitude measured 
either by trigonometrical measurement or observations with 
a mercurial barometer, that it is possible to be sure 
where he has been. Mr. Graham doubtless climbed a 
difficult and high peak, but it cannot, in my opinion, 
have been Kabru or anything like the altitude of Kabru. 
Your suggestion that it may have been Kang-tsen (a ridge 


of Kabru, 2,000 ft. less in height) is well worthy of con- 

Colonel Tanner, who has specially studied the forms of 
the higher peaks of the Himalayas, says, " Your Kang-tsen 
appears to have the sharp knife-edge crest demanded by 
Graham's account, and I think it very probable in the light 
thrown on the neighbouring topography by your photograph, 
that Kang-tsen is what he ascended. He would never have 
omitted to describe the wonderful table-land which occupies 
the summit of Kabru, had he ascended that position after the 
fearful climb necessary for surmounting its awful sides." This 
table-land on the top of Kabru is seen in Colonel Tan- 
ner's drawing at p. 395 ; and, curiously, this characteristic 
feature is, I find, denoted in the Lepcha name for " Kabru ", 
which means "The Straight Snow-level" (Nan-tam-chii). 

This point is further referred to in connection with my 
visit to Kang-la Pass and Kang-tsen, in the next chapter. 





Whilst something is thus known of the general features 
of the eastern peaks and glaciers of the Kanchen-junga 
group, almost nothing practically is known of the western, 
as these lie within the jealously guarded territory of Nepal, 
which has not been visited by Europeans. For Hooker, 
the only European who has travelled in Eastern Nepal, 
passed somewhat too low down to see them, and Mr. 
Graham, whose claims to have scaled Kabru are disput- 
ed, has recorded only the brief and general note above 

In my attempt to see a little of this western side of 
the peaks, — the distant telescopic profile of which, by Col- 
onel Tanner, is given on page 395 — I experienced much 
difficulty in getting a guide to show me over the pass 



to the Nepalese side of the range, as the natives of 
these parts dread the pains and penalties that the Nepalese 
rulers inflict on all who impart information, or assist Euro- 
peans in gaining information, concerning the country or the 
people. Ultimately, however, a Tibetan trader from Waloong 
(the Walloon-choon of Hooker) in Nepal, who chanced to 
be at Yampoong, and who knew the tracks well, was 
prevailed on by Kintoop, for a small present, to guide us 

to, i £ ) / */w, *-W/Wh-$'>^ 

A. Highest crest of Kanchen'. B, B 1 . Kabrn. 

over, and keep above the inhabited part of the Nepalese 

On the 22nd September, 1896, I set out from Yampoong 
in company with this guide —who was rugged and hard, 
like his own rugged hills, — and the headman of that village, 
seven coolies under Kintoop, and three yaks, of which two 
were for the baggage or riding, and one as meat for the 

The ascent of about two miles to the bare rocky " Pass 
of the Devil" {Dai-Ld) was easy walking, over great sheets 
of gneiss like paving-stones, as this stratified rock was 
almost horizontal here. We passed on the way a rude 


trap for a snow-leopard. It was baited with the leg of a 
yak, and constructed of the large stone-flags of the place, 
on the principle of a school-boy's box-trap of bricks and 
slate for catching birds. Only here, the falling door was 
a massive paving-stone, weighing about a quarter of a ton, 
and intended to crush the beast to death. 

Just below the pass was a rocky tarn called ''The Lake 
of the Tigress" {Tag-mo Tso); and its legend related that 
the tigress which lived in a cave on its banks was the 
devil who gave its name to the pass. It was no ordinary 
earthly tiger, but a fiend in that form; and it killed all 
the yaks and people who came here, until a saintly Lama 
arrived, and by his spells banished this devil, and now 
every passer-by puts a stone on the cairn in the pass, to 
commemorate this happy event. 

On penetrating the pass (14,900 ft.), our track wound 
past several plants of the giant rhubarb and the woolly 
aromatic balls of Saussurea, along the eastern shoulder of 
the ridge for about 1 1 / 2 miles, over flags of gneiss per- 
meated by veins of quartz, amongst blocks of coarse 
crystalline grey granite, and under an overhanging cliff call- 
ed "The Falling Rock" {Dang-bydbir), which was a favour- 
ite haunt of wild sheep, according to my guide. Here I 
went off the track to see on the left a wild tarn, nearly 
a mile in length, called " The Loch of Everlasting Life " {Tse 1 
pag-med Tso), and reputed to contain fabulous gems ; the 
Nepalese call it "The Lake of Good Luck" {Luckee-pokree). 

Rounding a corner to the north, at the Oma Pass 



(15,320 ft.), we came suddenly into snow, and a magnifi- 
cent view of the Kanchen' range burst on our eyes. Kanchen' 
with Kabru seemed quite near, the top of the latter was 
within twelve miles' distance ; but they were fast clouding 
over ere I got my camera ready, for I had sprained my 
ankle slightly, and was riding on the spare yak. Still I 


secured the accompanying photograph of the Kang pass. 
A steep descent of about 3,000 feet in three miles, led 
down through a gloomy gorge lined with landslips, to the 
deserted yak-station of Gamo-tang. 

This precipitous gorge was infested a few years ago by 
a gang of Tibetan brigands. They murdered and robbed 
the traders and others who laboriously threaded the 


narrow neck of this gorge — by rolling down rocks upon 
them, and then rushing out and despatching any still 
left alive. They had emissaries resident at Darjeeling who 
kept them advised not only of the traders ' movements, 
but also of the police who were sent on their track ; and 
it required the conjoint efforts of the military police of 
Nepal and Darjeeling for some years to disperse them. 
Only a few were captured, and these were hanged. I my- 
self had seen the tree on the Nepal frontier where one of 
them was hanged about a year before, little thinking that 
I should ever visit the scene of their exploits. Several of 
the band were still at liberty, and the headman of Yampoong, 
who pointed out their former eyrie, high up on the crags, 
and the places of their ambuscade, said that travel hereabouts 
was still unsafe on this account, and that when he and 
others had to go this way, they armed themselves and 
formed a big party. 

From this dark defile of the brigands we emerged on 
to a pretty mountain-girt dell, Gamo-tang, or " The Level 
Mead" (12,550 ft.), through which the crystal water of 
the little Rathong river rushed noisily over a pebbly bed, 
fringed with trailing willows and sedges. I pitched my 
tent on the bank of the stream, near the deserted hut of 
the yak-herdsmen, of which latter my men took possession. 
This small meadow was a charming spot in the bright 
sunshine. On all sides bold rugged cliffs rose above the 
pine woods, up to snow-tipped peaks. Below these patches 
of snow, the face of the dripping rocks, wet with the melt- 


ing snow, glittered and gleamed like mirrors in the sun- 
light. And a curious wintry effect was produced by several 
cascades that slid and tumbled down the white quartz and 
granite cliffs, forming broad white streaks, beyond the dark 
pines, a thousand feet in length. 

This pretty meadow, now so desolate, was once a thriving 
settlement; and my friend of Yampoong pointed out traces 
of the fields of buckwheat which had flourished here in 
his grandfather's day, but now were overgrown by the 
young pine woods. The prosperity of the place, said he, 
was owing to a holy milk-white bull-yak that had miracu- 
lously appeared and roamed over these hillsides. It was 
reputed to be an incarnation of the mountain-god Kanchen ' 
himself, and it acted as a luck-commanding talisman, like 
the Mascotte. When this lucky yak deserted these haunts 
all sorts of disaster followed. The Nepalese invaded Sikhim. 
Then a deadly pestilence broke out amongst the yaks, and 
all the people who ate the flesh of the dead beasts, and 
they comprised nearly everyone in the village, died. There- 
upon the survivors fled, in the belief that a malignant 
devil had taken possession of the place. No one returned 
for many years, and even now the spot is only occupied 
as a grazing-station for a few weeks in the summer time. 

I went after some partridges and pheasants that I heard 
calling in the thick cover, and got one partridge. During 
my absence the young yak had been killed, and amongst 
the portions reserved for me, were the tongue and the 
heart, which are esteemed especial delicacies. 


At night the fear of the brigands weighed heavily on 
our little camp. All lights and cooking fires were put out 
at dusk, so as not to reveal our position, and Kintoop 
came to my small tent with two trustworthy men as sentries. 
They mounted guard with their knives, at the door inside 
the tent, as the temperature outside was below the freezing 
point. In this rough exposed life, it is needless to say 
that I had for some days given up the vulgar habit of 
undressing before retiring for the night. My bed consisted 
of a blanket spread over springy pine-branches, and under 
my pillow and alongside me were laid my revolver and 
gun. But when Kintoop drew his ugly knife and laid it 
down beside him on a corner of my couch, I felt some 
misgivings lest he should, in a night-mare, mistake me in 
the dark for one of the dreaded robbers. The night, 
however, passed without mishap. I slept soundly, fatigued 
by the day's marching, and was only awoke once or twice 
by the high wind shaking the tent. 

At daybreak the temperature registered 3 Fahr. of frost, 
slight snow had fallen, and the tent was frozen stiff as 
cardboard. So cold was the wind that a young eagle fell dead 
a few yards from my tent, the shaggy coats of our yaks 
glistened with a thick coating of ice spangles, and one of our 
men seemed to have caught acute inflammation of the lungs ; 
he was delirious with high fever. I gave him some medicine, 
and Kintoop had to leave one of our already small party to 
look after him, or as Kintoop grimly put it: "to feed him 
and sacrifice to the devils for him, and if he died to bury him." 


Fording the stream on boulders and following it up 

towards its source at the Chabab pass, over which we had 

to cross into Nepal, we rose, in about a mile and a half, 

up out of the region of trees, through stunted bushes of 

juniper to the deserted yak-hut of Bogto (13,350 ft.). The 

grassy shoulder on which it lay, about 600 feet above the 

river, was somewhat suggestive of an old moraine, though 

no glaciers now existed in this valley ; nor did the stream 

evidently contain any glacier water from sources higher up. 

In this lonely hut of Bogto, I was told, the young 

daughter of a wealthy Sikhimese, with her maid, had halted 

about sixteen years ago on their way to Tibet, about a 

month later in the season than we had come. A heavy 

snow-storm not only prevented them from proceeding, but 

cut off their retreat as well, and the unfortunate damsels 

died here of starvation. Some of their bones were still 

strewn about the place, and their skulls had been made, 

by my guide, into drums for summoning the devils. 

Pursuing our track up the valley, we flushed several 

Monal pheasants, which characteristically flew downwards, 

as we passed through the stunted junipers, pruned low by 

the cutting wind, and we emerged on the bleak uplands. 

Here bears were to be found, it was said, but few or no 

wild sheep, on account of some poisonous grass that grew 

there. We passed several tempest-swept tarns variously 

coloured red, black, and green, and named accordingly. They 

were the reputed abode of Caliban-like spirits. Near these 

bare lochs a few butterflies still hovered over the last few 



flowers of summer, at an elevation of over 14,000 feet. 
The most numerous were the silvery spotted " Queen of 
Spain" (Fritillary). 

The opposite side of the valley, rising steeply with its 
knife-edge ridge, was called " The Black Tiger Hill " {Tak- 
ri-nag-pd), and certainly its long undulating outline and its 
crest picked out with snow did suggest a reclining tiger. 
The body of the beast was formed by the black lichen- 
covered granitic gneiss, which was broadly striped with 
the white veins of granite and by the shoots of the 
disintegrating granite crags above. And a columnar form- 
ation of the rock outlined the shoulder, haunches and paws. 

The valley suddenly opened out, about four miles above 
Bogto, into a broad rounded rocky basin, evidently of 
glacial formation, and surrounded by an amphitheatre of 
rugged snow-streaked peaks ; on the one side the Kanchen' 
Senchal ridge, pierced by the Chabab pass about 2 miles 
off, and on the other a spur of Kang-La and Kabru, which 
latter peak towered close above us, on our right. 

This bleak rocky basin was strewn with great white 
blocks of quartz and light grey granite, the white patches 
of which, uncovered by bronzing lichens, must give this 
landscape a snowy wintry aspect even in summer. 

A weird lake lay in this wild setting, under the white 
horn of the Kang-La snows to our right. It was called " The 
Enchanted Lake of the Peacock's Tail" (Tso Dom-dong- 
md) ; and from its blue transparent depths there gleamed 
several large spots of brilliant turquoise. This peculiar 



appearance, which gave the lake its name, was due to 
the great blocks of dazzling white quartz which studded its 
dark-blue bed. It was evidently a " Corrie ", or a lake formed 
in the dammed-up end of the latest moraine of a glacier 


which had come down from the Kang-La peaks, but which 
had now disappeared. The evidence of glacial action here 
was such as is rarely met with in the Himalayas. The 
smooth face of the projecting cliff to our left, which had 
abutted into the glacier, was scooped out, scratched and 


scored in characteristic fashion for a considerable distance, 
about twenty feet above the present level. 

The spirits of this haunted lake were, of course, wor- 
shipped by my men. These spirits, said they, were dragons 
who occasionally appeared to men in the form of furious 
bull-yaks, or as mild mermaids who siren-like allured the 
lonely traveller to a cruel death. So whilst my men were 
praying to the deities of the lake and the mountain, I 
tasted the sweet crystal water. The loch is 14,600 ft. above 
the sea, about half a mile in length, somewhat triangular in 
shape, and into its further narrow northern end fall several 
thin cascades from the melting snows overhead. Edelweiss 
and other allied woolly flowers bloomed on its bleak banks. 

The pass (15,950 ft.) was reached by a stiffish climb 
for about a mile, over great masses of sharp splintered 
rocks ; yet none of us suffered here the slightest incon- 
venience from the rarefied air, although the altitude was 
considerably more than that of Momay below the Dong-kia 
pass, which had tried us all so much. The view from the cairn 
at the top was not very extensive owing to the clouds that 
were drifting over us. The summit was a rugged knife-edge, 
with the most precipitous fall to the western or Nepalese 
side; and this also was the character of the peaks and 
ridges both north and south of the pass. The weathering 
rocks of the uplifted crest fell away abruptly on the Nepalese 
side, leaving jagged columns and towering pinnacles that 
looked like castellated battlements and needle-shaped spires. 

Thin snow lay for over a hundred yards down the Nepal- 


ese side, in the cold northern shade. Thence we descended 
the precipitous slope, picking our way over about a mile 
of massive blocks of sharp splintered rocks. Here it was 
marvellous to see how the laden yaks lumbered along 
over these rocks, and skirted precipices that were formi- 
dable enough for the unladen human pedestrian. The yak 
frequently had to spring up on to ledges, like a goat, and 
poise itself with arched body, and all its four feet close 
together, before taking another spring ; and at other times 
the patient beast circumvented sharp curves by a series 
of wriggles. In deep snow, such as is said to lie here 
from November to April, this passage must be much more 
difficult on account of the steepness of some of the slopes 
of crumbling loose rock; but the story of the glaciers and 
crevasses which had been reported here by the Indian tra- 
veller Baboo Sarat C. Das is unfounded. 

From the western foot of this rocky pass the view up 
towards the Kang-La was grand. Several huge needles 
traced with snow, soared into the air like cathedral spires ; 
and between these, several long shoots of stones from the 
splintering granite and quartz rocks of the ridge above 
swept down for full two thousand feet or more. 

We crossed a short distance below the bottom of these 
stone-shoots (14,650 ft.) to the other side of the valley, 
and thence, after five weary miles round a spur, we gained 
the valley of the Yaloong river, and then commanded 
extensive views down into Eastern Nepal, which spread out 
before us like a map, in that remarkably clear atmosphere. 


The Everest group, with its most prominent peak 
"No. XIII ", stood up boldly about sixty miles away, though 
in the distant perspective from our elevated point of view 
these peaks seemed to be far below us. And through the 
deep cleft of the Arun river, I could see to the north of 
the Everest group some other snowy peaks further in the 
interior of Tibet, including some which were alleged to 
be higher than Everest. And it was now evident that the 
Everest range, like that of Kanchen-junga, seemed off the 
main axis of the Himalayas and the margin of the great 
Tibetan plateau, and appeared as a spur running south, and 
at right angles to that axis. At the northern end of this 
spur where it adjoins the Tibetan plateau of Dingri is the 
Tang-La, or "Terrible pass" (Bhairav-Langur), which Hodg- 
son identified with Everest, which, however, is fifty miles 
farther to the S. E. 

This upper part of Nepal of which we got such exten- 
sive views is so little known, even in regard to its broad 
territorial and tribal divisions, that I have embodied in 
the sketch-map on page 349 some of the brief information 
supplied by my guide. The upland tract to the south of 
Everest, lying between the Arun river and the glacial " milky " 
Kosi (Doodk-Kosi, a corruption of the Tibetan Dud-tsi) 
river, is called Khoomboo or Khumbu, and its inhabitants 
are Bhotiyas, that is of Tibetan stock. The purest of these 
occupy the northern half, which is called " .S/*dr- Khumbu ". 
The southern half or "^/^-Khumbu" is peopled by the 
" S/iar-pa" or " Sher-pa" tribe, whom we have already seen, 


and who are slightly Hindooized by contact with the 
Kiranti tribe of the lower ranges and with their Nepalese 
neighbours, but they still retain their Tibetan dress. The 
Bhotiyas on the west bank of the Doodh-Kosi and between 
the San-Kosi, in the lower ravines of Rong-Shar also seem 
to be called "Shar-pa". The approximate distribution of 
the other Bhotiya tribes I have also indicated, namely, 
the Shugu-pa, Shing-sa-pa, Tok-be-pa, Waloong-pa, as well 
as the Kiranti and Limboo countries. 

In regard to the adjoining part of Tibet to the north, 
I also got from my guide some interesting geological 
scraps of information, as he had resided near Tinki fortress 
and travelled much thereabouts. Fossils, so rare on the 
southern slopes of the Himalayas, are not uncommon on 
the northern. A short distance north of Tinki, across the 
Arun (there called the " Ya-ru"), is a great deal of chalky 
fossiliferous limestone, and also beds of yellow and red 
ochre, which the people use for decorating their houses. Also, 
still further north beyond Sakya, or " The Yellow Clay ", 
at Jang-lache on the south bank of the Tsang-po, garnets 
are found embedded in a chalky formation, and rock-crystal, 
of which he had some specimens in his amulet-box. And 
close to the north of fort Shikar (Shel-kar), between and 
to the west of the two sites above mentioned, are very 
large fossil shells. This is interesting with reference to the 
Eocene nummulitic limestone found by Hooker on the 
margin of the Tibetan plateau above the Dongkia pass, 
and evidently a deposit similar to those found in Ladak, 


so that this land would appear to have been raised in very 
early times, and the nummulitic sea which seems to have 
run as a gulf up the Indus valley to Ladak, as Godwin- 
Austen has showed, probably extended thus far southwards, 
with open ocean to the east. As to the gold mines, my 
guide, like most superstitious Tibetans, was very reticent 
in giving information as to these supposed treasure-houses 
of the malignant earth-spirits. He had been near some of 
these on the borders of the snows, and said they were 
strongly guarded by troops, and the miners only occasion- 
ally worked. They offered sacrifices to the spirits and then 
rushed to the lodes, and after a few hours rushed back 
again laden with their treasures. Mica (Tibetan Nam-do, 
i.e. "sky-stone") is quarried in considerable quantities near 
Tinki, about six or seven miles below the line of perpetual 
snow. The Tibetan rock-salt which forms such a large 
trade with Nepal and Sikhim, is got directly from the great 
lakes. The ordinary rusty sort is gathered on the shores of 
the lakes, whilst the purer kind is picked up in large 
crystals on the wet margin of the water. 

We then turned northwards, down into a sort of "devils' 
punch-bowl", and passing above the very small tarn in its 
bottom, called "The Spoonful of Water" {Choo-lok-nyd), at 
an elevation of 14,100 feet, we entered a gloomy valley 
of rocks, over which we clambered for about a mile, till we 
reached a point at which the small stream that flowed 
under the rocks shewed itself on the surface for a few 
yards ; and here we encamped under a great boulder about 


40 feet high, that had fallen from the ridge above. The 
wildness of this scene was forbidding. The valley for miles 
around seemed a vast quarry of stones hurled down pell- 
mell. And overhead, the snowy peak of Kang-La sent 
down a bitter blast of icy-cold glacier air on us, which 
our scant shelter and poor fire of faggots did little to 
relieve. This place was the source of the Nepalese river 
called the " Cho-Gan-ga" , a branch of the Tambra or Tamru. 

Yet, even so desolate a region as this, is guarded by 
the jealous Nepalese. So far, we had escaped encountering 
their patrols, but these latter captured the King of Sikhim 
not far from here when he tried to flee to Tibet in 1892 — 
for since our last reference to him, on the occasion of our 
visit to the Jelep pass, several political developments have 

The King, brooding over his fancied wrongs, fled from 
Sikhim in 1892, and tried to reach Tibet by this track we 
are following; but was captured by the Nepalese and handed 
over to the Indian Government. Then, after having been 
kept a State-prisoner in Darjeeling district for about three 
years, he was restored this year (1896) to his throne, and 
returned to the new capital at Gantok, which has grown 
to a considerable-sized village. His son and heir, however, 
still remains without any education worthy of the name. 

Meanwhile the " Sikhim-Tibet Convention" to facilitate 
trade with Tibet and to demarcate the boundary, a Con- 
vention of which such great things were expected, has 
ended, like most of our other arrangements with China, in 


a fiasco. The boundary pillars were not allowed to be 
set up, and the opening of a nominal trade mart at Yatoong 
below the Jelep pass was discounted by the fact that no 
Tibetan trader was allowed to settle there, and still more 
vexatious restrictions were imposed on traders than before 
the war. For this block of Tibetan trade and this policy 
of an exclusion more rigorous than ever, the Chinese excuse 
themselves by alleging that it is all the doing of the Lama- 
priests of Lhasa. But it is the Chinese themselves un- 
doubtedly who are at the bottom of it all, and they 
merely make a cat's-paw of the Lamas. The Tibetans 
are not unfriendly to Europeans, and the Lamas least of 
all wish the trade to be tied up, as they themselves are 
the chief traders of the country. China, on the other hand, 
wishes to keep the Tibetan markets to itself, as well as to 
consolidate its political power there, and its sinister influence 
at Lhasa in instigating the Tibetans against us on every 
opportunity has been clearly manifest from the time of 
Hue onwards. 

So evident, indeed, was this influence in regard to this 
Sikhim-Tibet question that a casual visitor to Darjeeling, 
Count d'Alviella, remarked it many years ago. He wrote : 
" On sait que, d'apres les Autorites du Thibet la fermeture 
" de cette province aux etrangers est due exclusivement a 
" des ordres envoyes de Pekin par le Gouvernement Chinois. 
" A Pekin, au contraire, on repond aux Anglais que e'est 
" uniquement le fait des Lamas et des fonctionnaires Thi- 
"betains;" and he quotes a letter that the Chinese resident 


at Lhasa sent to the king of Sikhim in 1873, and which 
fell into our hands. In this letter the Chinese said : " Your 
"state of Sikhim borders on Tibet. You know our 
" wishes and our policy. You are bound to prevent the 
" English from crossing our frontier. Yet it is entirely your 
" fault — thanks to the roads which you have made for 
"them in Sikhim — that they have conceived this project. 
" If you continue to act thus, it will not be good for you. 
" Henceforth you must fulfil your obligations, and obey 
" the commands of Grand Lama Rimboche and those of the 
"twelfth Emperor of China." 

Yet notwithstanding this recognised deceit of China, 
diplomacy was again tried with it over this very question, 
and under cover of their old excuse — blaming the Lamas 
for everything— the Chinese, without suffering any sacrifice 
themselves, have obtained important concessions, considerably 
strengthened their grip and prestige over Tibet, prevented 
us obtaining any solid recompense for the great cost of 
the late war, and have postponed more distantly than ever 
the opening up of that country to Europeans, and the 
development of its undoubted trade possibilities in the export 
of gold, wool, etc. in exchange for British and Indian 
goods. The situation, however, must eventually become 
critical again, and in that event it would be far better 
to throw over China altogether with its deceit and false 
promises, and deal directly with the Tibetans. 

A " national party " is arising in Tibet in rebellion against 
the grinding yoke of the Chinese. I had the pleasure of 



meeting one of the leading spirits in this movement which 
has the moral and political progress of their country at 
heart. This gentleman came to Darjeeling in the train of 
the Chinese Commissioners, on the boundary question, and 
he is now the chief lay-Governor at Lhasa. 


It was he who stopped M. Bonvalot and Prince Henry 
of Orleans on their way towards Lhasa, and at a point 
fully a week 1 s journey from that city instead of the one 
day's journey as claimed by them. 

In talking of the Chinese, when I mentioned that our 
troops had held Pekin, he treated the matter as a joke, 
like the official whom Mr. Blanford met, and exclaimed 


"Perhaps your general reported that he had occupied Pekin, 
but he certainly never got there, for such a thing was 
quite impossible!" — so successfully have the Chinese con- 
cealed their indignity from the Tibetans. 

But I cannot here refer to the many interesting conver- 
sations that I had with this enlightened, kindly man, who 
seems destined, if he lives, to play an important part in 
the history of Tibet. 

As we came along this desolate track towards Tibet by 
which the unfortunate King of Sikhim had fled, my men 
had been keeping an outlook for a box of precious jewels 
which, according to a bazaar report, had been lost here by 
the king in his flight. 

Morning broke fiercely cold with 5 Fah. of frost, and 
a keen wind raged. I was up two hours before daylight to 
see the sunrise from the western side of the peaks. The 
traders' trail to the north led over a pass bearing the 
characteristic name of "The Cold Pass" (Se-mo La), or 
Semarum as the Lepchas call it, at an elevation of 15,370 ft. 
At the summit I was again disappointed to find absolutely 
no trace of the glaciers and crevasses reported here by 
Baboo Sarat C. Das. There was at this season not only 
no snow in this pass, but none visible from it except the 
tips of the Everest group, which showed over the ranges 
to the west, and the distant snow-streaked ranges of Kam- 
bachen. To the north and east all the snowy peaks of 
the Kanchen' range, including the Kang-La, were hidden 
from view by a precipitous ridge which rose about 300 ft. 


above the north side of the pass. This point, which had 
not been reached by the Baboo, I hurriedly scaled, with 
Kintoop and two of my men, as the sun was just rising, 
and I then got a magnificent view, not marred by a 
single cloud. 

The wildness and majesty of this panorama was awful. 
The western side of the Kang-La, or "Pass of the Glaciers" 
rose up about two miles away in cold grey shade, and I 
could see lying within it, its snowfields and glaciers with 
their ice-falls, and the outflowing milky grey streams that 
ploughed down the bare grey granite valley, over 4,000 feet 


almost sheer below me, for I was on the knife-edge ridge 
of the shivered cliff. From this giddy height I saw, above 
and to the north of the tooth-rocks of the pass, the Kang- 
La Nang-ma, or "The Interior of the Pass of the Glaciers", 
which is not a pass at all as has hitherto been stated, 
but is only, according to my guides, a cul-de-sac or basin of 
snow and neve, where no traffic ever goes. 

Above this, rose the knife-edge peak of Kang-tsen on 
the southern base of Kabru, which, for the reasons already 
stated, I believe to be the peak which Mr. Graham ascended 
in mistake for Kabru. And certainly it appeared from here 
to be the most prominent peak; for the long ridge of 



" Kabru " (properly "Kaboor") fell away lower in the per- 
spective, over the bare cliffy shoulder of the opposite side 
of the valley, which latter also unfortunately blocked out 
from my view, not only the bases of Kabru and Jannu, but 
also the peaks of Kanchen-junga itself. 

The tip of the tremendous southern cliff of Jannu, or 
"Juona", which Hooker, who had a near view of it, estimat- 
ed at 9,000 feet and in appearance like that of Mont Cervin 
from the Riffel, gleamed with its warty knobs in the rising 
sunlight, over the dark ridge. My men called it Kanchen- 
Jo, or " The Lord of the Great Glaciers ", apparently 
because it was the most dominant peak visible. As to the 
possibility of climbing it, Mr. Graham, who saw it from the 
east, says : " I think it is possible from the east, but there 
is an enormous glacier at least twenty miles long to be 
traversed before reaching the arete, and even when there 
it would be very difficult. From west and south the peak 
is obviously impassable." 

West of Jannu, a sharply serrated snowy peak like a 
lion's tooth was called to me "The Glacial Goddess of Me- 
dicine", {Man-lha-L a-mo Kang) and is an object of worship. 
It seems to be the "Choonjerma" of Hooker. Whilst, 
behind it, showed up the snowy tip of a higher peak, which 
was called Tang-tong-Kang, apparently the " Nango " of 
Hooker. Further west, beyond this, were the snows of 
Yangma and Tashi-raka, bounding Tibet; and still further 
west were the tips of the Khoombu and Everest group of 
peaks. The northern cliffy face of Everest was very bold 



and precipitous, as shown in the accompanying sketch ; 
but the rounded northern spur seen by Colonel Tanner 
from Sandook-phu and estimated at about 25,000 feet high, 
was not visible, it must have been hidden by the rocky 
ranges in my middle distance. The compass-bearings of 
these peaks are detailed in the appendix. S7 

Kang-La, or "The Pass of the Glaciers", is perpetually 

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1. Everest. , 2. Peak XIII."- 3. Khnmbti sno-ys. 4. Tashi-raka snows. 

snowed. Over it go the Tibetan salt-traders, bound for 
Jongri in western Sikhim. This salt is carried from the great 
lakes on the Tibetan plateau on the backs of sheep, which 
are driven up the valley, beneath us, and over this pass 
in summer. A little also comes in November, after the 
October snows have hardened sufficiently to bear the 
weight of pedestrians and the salt-laden sheep. The salt 
is bartered for rice, Murwa, maize, bundles of madder 
dye-stuff, etc. Mr. Graham crossed this pass from Jongri, 
and his description of it, which has an important bearing 
on his ascent of the peak which he believed to be Kabru, 


will now be more intelligible from my foregoing photograph 
on p. 417 and the key to it on p. 416. He wrote: 

"The next day (30th March, 1883,) we took the three 
best men and proceeded west to the foot of the Kangla 
pass, which leads into Nepal. The summit of the pass is 
some 17,000 ft., and is crowned by a noble saddle glacier, 
whilst on either side rises a sharp rock-tooth some 1,500 ft. 
higher. We turned to the right, to the foot of the glacier, 
which flows in a beautiful stream south-west from Kanchen- 
junga. Here we encamped on the moraine in one of the 
grandest amphitheatres imaginable. Due east rose Kabru, 
2^,015 ft., its western face almost like a wall, corniced with 
hugh masses of glacier and snow, from which thundered 
an incessant volley of avalanches. North-east rose Kanchen ', 
its grey precipices even now but lightly touched with snow. 
North, Jannu showed its awful southern cliff, while west, 
rose a great peak of snow and rock, great actually, though 
small and easy as compared with its neighbours. The 
night was the coldest we experienced in the Himalayas — 
8° (?) Fahr. being the minimum reading of the thermo- 
meter. Early next morning Imboden and I started to ascend 
the peak on our west. It was a hard and interesting scramble 
of some five hours and a half, rock and snow alternately. 
Only one place offered any serious difficulty, and at 10.15 
we were at the summit. Though the western view was 
clouded, we had a noble view of the north-west of Kanchen '. 
Both by aneroid and by comparison with surrounding peaks, 
we estimated the height at rather over 20,000 ft." 


The foregoing sentences which I have placed in italics, 
taken in connection with Mr. Graham's description of the 
peak which he ascended in the belief that it was Kabru 
appear to indicate Kang-tsen both in direction and physical 
aspect, rather than Kabru. 

Mr. Graham is not the only one who has claimed to have 
ascended Kabru. The patron saint of Sikhim, Latsun Chembo, 
is said to have miraculously reached that peak over two cen- 
turies ago. And the wild bare rocky gorge beneath us 
bears the ironical name of" The Pleasant Garden " [Nam-gah- 
tsal), because, says the legend, that saint lived "happily" 
in a hermitage here, when he was composing the ritual for 
the worship of Kanchen'. He is said to have dwelt under 
this western side of the pass in a cave called Kant-pa 
Kha-brag, and near the " Monkey 's-back Rock" (Preu-gyab- 
tak), so named with reference to its outline, as suggesting 
a sitting monkey. 

My panorama also included some ominous smoke from 
the village of Tseram in the deep valley below, where a 
Nepalese guard was stationed. I had hoped to have been 
able to reach the upper glacier valley of Yaloong, and so 
right up to the great western glacier of Kanchen ' , without 
sighting any Nepalese villages; but now, I found that, in 
order to get round the opposite spur, I must descend quite 
close to the guard-post of Tseram, where there was a 
strong probability of my getting discovered ; and the political 
complications certain to ensue in such an event were more 
than I, as a Government official, could risk. It was exas- 


perating, after undergoing so many hardships in reaching 
thus far, and penetrating for more than thirty miles over 
a track not previously traversed by any European, to be 
stopped within one and a half day's journey, from what 
must be one of the grandest bits of the Himalayas, namely, 
the south-western glacier of Kanchen-junga within its amphi- 
theatre of magnificent peaks, ranging from the precipitous 
Jannu (25,300 ft.), round by Kamba-chen (25,780 ft.) and the 
curving crests of Kanchen ' (28,153 ft-) to Kabru (24,015 ft.). 

It is to be hoped that the existing prohibition to travel 
in these grand regions may soon be relaxed, as so many 
interesting geographical and geological problems there await 
solution ; and especially so as the country that is thus 
closed against Europeans more absolutely than any other 
in the world, except Tibet, is yet within our "sphere of 
influence ", and its Government is on the friendliest terms 
politically with the British. 

Until I commenced to descend from the sharp crest of 
this tremendous precipice on which we had been clinging, 
I had not realised how insecure our pinnacle had been. It 
was such a knife-edge that I had to be held by my men 
when I stretched out to take the photographs; but it was 
only when about to descend that the rottenness of the rocks 
was so apparent. These latter were so deeply gashed and 
fissured by the shivering action of the hot sun on the 
frozen granite, as to be almost a wall of loose splinters. 
As we descended, some pieces broke off and fell into the 
yawning abyss below. In fact not a single bit of this rock 


could be trusted. Before leaving the summit, the young 
Lama — who with Kintoop had built a tiny cairn on the 
topmost pinnacle and decorated it with rags torn from their 
dress ; for, said they, no human being had likely ever been 
there before — stopped behind to blow a farewell blast on 
a human thigh-bone to the spirit of that monarch of 
mountains, Kanchen-Junga. 

As we retraced our steps down the Semo pass, several 
of the beautiful Tibetan snow-cocks {Hrak-pa, so named 
after their cry) were calling amongst the rocks of grey 
granite and quartz on our left. Lower down, we came on 
a covey of blood-pheasants {Ithagenes ententes), of which 
I shot a brace as they scampered upwards over the stones. 
Their bright coloured plumage, mottled crimson and green, 
is admirably adapted to conceal them amongst the green 
and crimson lichen-covered rocks in their bare mountain 
home. On returning to our bivouac of the previous night, 
my collector brought me a splendidly plumaged Monal 
pheasant in one hand, and the shattered fragments of his 
gun in the other, and dolefully explained that as he fired 
his gun it had burst. He was relieved when, instead of 
receiving the expected scolding, I congratulated him on his 
escape. These men cram so much powder and shot into 
their rusty old muzzle-loading guns, that the wonder is 
that fatal accidents are not more frequent. 

Slight snow then began to fall from the murky clouds 
that were quickly banking up overhead, so that we decided 
to push quickly over the Cha-bab pass that day, in case 


a heavy snowfall might cut off our retreat in that direction. 
But the baggage-yak was nowhere to be found ; these 
beasts when unloaded are turned loose to forage for their 
food in the scanty tufts of grass and herbage amongst 
the rocks. The yak-herd after looking high and low for 
it, to see whether it had not fallen over a precipice in 
the neighbourhood, decided that it probably had gone back 
to seek its companion who had been left behind at the 
Cha-bab pass, where it had been lamed by the sharp rocks ; 
and sure enough this had happened, for as we approached 
that pass we heard through the snowy fog the musical 
tinkle of their bells, and found them quietly herding together 
near the foot of the pass, much to the joy of the yak- 
herd who had himself been carrying most of the absent 
beast's burden. 

The pass was now powdered with freshly fallen snow 
for about a mile from the top ; a little, too, had fallen 
on the other side, as far as the weird lake of "The Pea- 
cock's Tail ". It was dark ere we reached the verdant 
dell of Gamotang, embowered in wooded hills, and presenting 
such a grateful contrast to the bleak regions from which 
we had come. Here we were pleased to find a blazing 
fire in the herdsman's hut, and a large heap of firewood 
collected by our two coolies who had been left behind, 
of whom the sick one was now recovering. 

In the morning, which rose bright and sunny, I went 
after some pheasants that were calling in the woodlands, 
and I got two fine Monal cocks and four partridges as 


the morning's bag. These gorgeously plumaged Monal, 
which are so abundant in the mountains hereabouts, are 
snared and slaughtered wholesale by the natives, for the 
sake of their skins, which are sent down to Calcutta for 
export. In the latter place as many as a thousand skins 
are offered for sale at one time. 

My men were delighted at the prospect of returning 
homewards from these wild regions, and started up hill 
with light hearts, — and lighter loads as we had eaten up 
almost all our stores. And as we re-crossed " The Pass of 
the Devil", where the white snow among the black cliffs 
was weeping away in tears, the young Lama collected 
bunches of juniper and the aromatic rhododendron leaves 
to burn as incense before the altar of the great Buddha, 
as a thanksgiving offering for our safe return. 

Some zest was added to our threading of the track down 
the lower slopes on the Nepalese side of the ridge, when 
we saw in the places where we crossed the thawing mud, 
between the rocks, the fresh footprints of a bear who also 
was evidently going along this track, a short way ahead of 
us; but after about a mile they disappeared amongst the 
rhododendrons, whence the brute doubtless had a peep at 
us as we passed. 

We spent the night in the shallow cave of Nego (13,170 ft.). 
It was little more than an overhanging ledge of rock, and 
could have afforded scant shelter from rain; but the night 
fortunately was dry, with little wind, though very cold. 
From my corner of the cave, the figures of my men seemed 


weird and spectral-like as they flitted about in the gloom, 
or crouched over the camp-fire which lit up their features 
with its lurid glare. It is only by being placed in such 
close relations to these natives that one fully realizes their 
many good traits, and how very human they are after all. 
Their hearty good humour under hardships, their willing 
and untiring energy when work is heaviest, their good 
comradeship, and generous sharing of their few comforts 
with each other, all this redeems them from much of 
what they lack in civilization. 

The next day brought us through fine forests and moun- 
tains, back to our larger tents and a fresh store of much 
needed provisions ; and in this free open-air life amidst 
magnificent scenery, we go on gathering fresh trophies and 
quaint experiences, till our tents are struck for the last 
time, and we return to the tyranny and comforts of civi- 

And as we bid farewell to our trusty Tartar servants — 
our genial fellow-travellers — and our train races us down 
from Darjeeling, and the silver vision of Kanchen-junga 
recedes from our view, we regretfully realize that these 
wanderings have become a memory of the past. 



Dr. Hooker was the first European to explore and survey Sikhim and the 

Eastern border of Nepal scientifically, and he did this work with such 

fulness of knowledge that his book [Himalayan Journals by (Sir) Joseph 

D. Hooker, M.D., 2 Vols., 1854,] must always remain the leading authority 

on the botanical and physical history of these regions. Of other books 

referring to parts of these regions, the Gazetteer of Sikhim is restricted 

to that portion of Sikhim which still remains under native rule, and it 

consists of detached official reports upon a few topics, the greater portion 

being my contributions on the religion of one of the tribes, and on 

the birds of this section of the Himalayas. Dr. Buchanan-Hamilton's 

Account of Nepal (1820) and Brian Hodgson's Essays contain 

miscellaneous notes of interest to students of ethnology : Sir William 

Hunter's Imperial Gazetteer^ and Account of Bengal embody some 

statistical information in regard to Sikhim; and Sir Clement Markham's 

Tibet and Mr. Saunders' compilation on the Himalayas refer 

incidentally to a few of the passes and general physical features of 

the mountain ranges thereabouts. Colonel Gawler published in 1873 a 

few notes on his military expedition to Sikhim in 1871 ; and " A Lady 

Pioneer" gives in her Indian Alps a vague account of a short ramble 

in the outer ranges of the same country. The political reports on Sikhim 

by Messrs. Edgar and Macaulay, containing some observations of general 

interest, were not made public. 

Whilst generally following the current map-forms of the names, I have 
spelt some of the chief names nearer the vernacular form, yet in a way 
to be pronounceable by English readers, and recognizable by the natives 
themselves, which many of the current forms are not. Thus u Kanchtn- 
junga" for "Kinchinjinga" " Rang-eet" for "Ranjeet", " C/wong-laug" 
for "Cheungtong", "Sana/ook-p/iu" for "Sundakfu" etc. 

W. T. Blanford, F.R.S., in Bengal Asiatic Socy. Jour. 1871, p. 393. 


4. The name of this place, "Siligoori", I find, means in the patois of the 

Dative Koch tribe "The Stony Site", for it is the outermost point at 
which pebbles from the Himalayas appear upon the surface of the 
muddy Delta of Bengal. 

5. These are the Hindooized aboriginal Chandals. and those members of this 

tribe who have been proselytized to Mohammedanism, the Nashyas. 
There are also some Mongoloid Koch, and in the recesses of the forest 
on the bank of the Mech river are to be found a few survivors of 
those semi-aborigines who have given their name to this river, which 
divides the Terai or Morang of Sikhim from that of Nepal 

6. This, I think, is the etymology of the Nepalese name for this country 

(namely "SiLiim" and not "Sikhim" as it is sometimes misspelt in 
English books). The word seems to me to be derived from the Nepalese 
or Parbatiya Sikhin, " The Crested'", which well denotes the leading feature 
of the country as seen from Nepal, where its mountain ridges running 
transversely to those of Eastern Nepal seem to form a bristling series 
of crests. The aborigines, the Lepchas, however, call it Nelyang or 
"The Place of Caves ", while the Tibetans call it Den-Jong or Demo-jong, 
or "The Country of Rice and Fruit", as it is a granary for bleak Tibet. 

7. Sir Edwin Arnold's Light of Asia, II, 42 — 43. 

8. Colonel Everest, after whom the great mountain was named, when 

organising the Trigonometrical Survey of India, recognised the disturbing 
influence of the local attraction exercised by the Himalayas, and 
endeavoured to minimize it by placing the northernmost station for 
the observation of his great Indian arc of meridian at Kaliana, over 
sixty miles from the Himalayas. Still he found a discrepancy existed 
between the length of the arc as measured and as astronometrically 
observed. Archdeacon Pratt, who took up this questioii about 1852, 
showed that the disturbing effect of the Himalayas was much greater 
than had been supposed, and he attempted to estimate the amount of 
this local attraction, and published his results in the Transactions of 
the Royal Society for i860 — 62. 

9. Proceedings Royal Geographical Society, 1884, pp. 429 etc. 

10. "Twenty Years' Climbing and Hunting in the Himalayas" in Alpine 

Journal about 1880. 

11. 1889. 

12. Eleusina crocana. 


13. For geological notes on this part of Sikhim see Mallet's paper in the 

Indian Geological Survey Reports. lie calls these slates and schists. 
the "Daling" series, after a place of that name in the east of the 
Darjeeling district. 

14. This custom, as I have shown elsewhere (Jour. Bengal Asiatic See. III. 1898), 

seems a survival of the matriarchy or molhership of the clan, which 
appears to have heen prevalent in this tribe. 

15. The less-known Hindoo title of Pati or '-.Master" was used in the ballad. 

16. The proper form of this Nepalese name for them is ■• Lap-die", which I 

find means the '-vile speakers"- for the Lepchas, unlike their Nepalese 
neighbours, adhered to their own vernacular and did not adopt tin- 
fashionable Hindoo dialect of the Goorkhas as did the Nepalese. and 
hence these latter applied this contemptuous name to them. This tribal 
name is curiously paralleled in the case of the K Welsh ". According to 
Canon Taylor {Words and Places^ p. 67) this is a similar derisive term 
applied by the neighbouring Saxons and meaning the "Jabberers''. 

17. The other Kazis in addition to this one of Lasso, are Vangthang, Gangtok. 

Rhenok, Dallom, Barmiak, Tashiting. Song, Living, Mating, Simik, and 

Pendom. The word Kazi seems to me to be borrowed through the 
Nepalese from the Mahomedan rulers of India, and to be the Persian 
word A'azi or A'adi. a magistrate, a name familiar to the readers of 
the ^ Arabian Xighls". Other titles thus adopted by the Nepalese are 
Sttbah, a governor; and Jung Bahadtn (•• Prave Warrior"). These Kazis 
are called by the Photiyas L"ihipi\ or --Ministers ", and by the Lepchas 
Pano-Sadatn-bo, or •• King's Chiefs". The subordinate officials in order 
of precedence are the military officer, the Ding- f on or Mak-pon; the 
larger village headman, Gytt-mi in (Lepcha Ta-so or .Ity.ih-bo); and 
the smaller village headman, Gya-pon or Pi-pen. 

18. J. W. Edgar's Report on a Visit to Sikhim and the Tibetan Frontier. 

Calcutta. 1874. 

19. In the Pioneer of March 7th. 1895. 

20. The description of this new species, named after me by Mr. W. Ogilvie 

( rrant of the Pritish Museum, is thus given in the Bulletin 0/ the 
British Ornithological Club and reprinted in the Ibis 1894, p. 424:-- 
"Like G. pectoralis^ but with the rufous collar almost obselete; the 
superciliary stripe grey, not while: ear coverts pale buff, witli blackish 
shaft-stripes instead of black, or black streaked with white: and the tail 
rather narrowly tipped with ashy: whereas in G. pectoralis it is 




broadly tipped with white. Habitat. — Rimgeet (Rangit) Sikhim. 4x00 
feet." The type specimen is in the British Museum, and three other 
skins {Vide (i. pectoralis sp. "Gazetteer of Sikhim'\ p. 231.) are in 
my large collection in the Hunterian Museum of Glasgow University. 

21. Malay Archipelago* 204 (5th edition. 130) with figure. 

22. Major Sherwill has described the mechanism of these bridges in the 

Journal of the Bengal Asiatic Society, also Hooker. 

23. Details of his dynasty are given in my '■•Buddhism of Tibet" and in the 

Gazetteer of Sikhim. p. 24 etc. 

24. This expedition was under Colonel Gawler who details it in his booklet 


25. In Tibetan Dorje-fag-mo. 

26. W. T. Blanford's Mammalia of British India. \V. B. Tegetmeier in Field, 

September 4th, 1897. 

27. Ceremonial Institutions. 

28. In Tibetan Sang-nag cho-zin. 

29. Hooker's Journals, II, p. 48. An eye-sketch of the plant was figured by 

Captn. \V. S. Sherwill in Jour ft. Bengal Asiatic Society, 1853, p. 618. 

30. The water blackened a silver coin in three minutes and was faintly 

alkaline to litmus paper. And I found on analysing a sample that it 
had the following chemical composition: — Total solid matter including 

free Sulphur, Iron, Lime and Silica. . . 16-38 grains per gallon. 

Calcium carbonate 2-08 .. ,, ., 

Chlorine , °'14 55 55 » 

Ammonia, free 0-0014 » n 35 

do. albuminoid 00008 „ „ „ 

Nitrates and Sulphates traces. 

31. Himal. Journals, II. p. 116. 

32. Jo-dud-lse, which may also mean •* the honourable ambrosia". 

^^. On the origin of the Flora of the European Alps by J. Ball, Proc. Royal 
Geographical Society, I. (1879), PP- 564—588. A. Wallace in Darwinism, 
p. 401, and Thistleton Dyer in Trans. IJnnean Secy. July 1856. p. 121. 

34. Proc. Roy. Geog. Socy., 1884, p. 416. 

35. Jour. Bengal Asiatic Society, 1871, p. 407. 



36. Sil-bo is the written form. 

37. A great ca'.tle eptdem'c was reported from Upper Tibet under the name 
of "Chunneah", also foot-and-mouth disease (AVu/r/ia), as detailed in 
the report of the Indian Cattle Plague of 1871. 

38. Published in the Indian Daily Xews, 1891, and reproduced in part in 

the Proc. Roy. Geog. Society for Sept. 1892, p. 613, etc. 

39. Report on Locusts by E. Cotes, in India Museum .Voles, from which 

also the illustration is derived. 

40. The remarkable local differencies in the rainfall in this portion of the 

Himalayas, due to the intervention of elevated mountain ridges 
precipitating the rain-clouds, are detailed in the following table, for 
the data of which I am indebted to the Meteorological Reporter of the 
Government of Bengal. 


U in 


im Himalayas and Ch 


Valley of 




1 — 1 























I. Siligoori . 



I 22 











2. Kurseong . 














3. Darjeeling 




4-6 1 









I 2169 

4. Pedong . . 














5. Gantok. . . 














6. Yatung 














The above average rainfall has been computed from the rainfall recorded 
during a period of over ten years in the case of Darjeeling, Siligoori 
Pedong, 7 years for Kurseong, and 4 and 3 years respectively for Gantok 
and Yatung. The rainfall at the latter place in a valley of Tibet 
was registered by Mr. Hobson of the Imperial Chinese Customs Service. 

41. For further details of the etymology of the Mountain. River, and Place 
Names of these Himalayas see my article your. Bengal Asiatic Socy.. 

1891, pp. 53—79- 



42. These '••Dooars" are usually estimated at 18 in number, of which 11 lie 

on the frontier of Bengal, where this Dooar of Daling and that of 
Buxar are the chief. The other seven are on the corresponding 
frontier of Asam. 

43. This is a literal translation of the tribal prefix " MolanchV and seems to 

me to be a vestige of the former matriarchal organisation of this 
tribe (see my articles in the Berlin Ethnological Journal, 1898, and 
Bengal Asiatic Socy. Journal, part III, 1898). 

44. See map on p. 349. Their eponymous patron saint is Goorkha-nath, 

a form of the Indian god Shiva, the Destroyer. 

45. For further instances of their valour, see a paper by Captain E. Vansittart 

in Jour. Bengal Asiatic Socy., 1895. 

46. Detailed in my paper on "Frog Worship" in Indian Antiquary, 1893. 

47. Yule's Alar co Polo, I. 220. "On the road from Kashmir towards Tibet", 

writes Feiishta (Brigg. IV. 449), "there is a plain on which no other 
vegetable grows but a poisonous grass that destroys all the cattle that 
taste it, and therefore no horsemen venture to travel that route." In the 
North-Western Himalayas the plant Andromeda ovalifolia is notorious 
for poisoning sheep and goats, while those living in the locality are 
exempt (H. Cleghorn, Jour. Indian Agricult. Socy., XVI, 4). And in 
regard to a plant of the same order (Ericacea) Mr. Marsh "Man and 
Nature", 40, attests the like fact regarding the Kalmia angusiifolia of 
New England. Some of the Himalayan rhododendrons affiliated to 
the Ericacea are also poisonous. 

48. My Monograph "Are Venomous Snakes Auto-toxic?" Calcutta 1887 — 

which anticipated the line of enquiry followed by Calmette and Frazer 
in regard to " Antivenene". 

49. Seven species are found in the Himalayas, of which at least four occur 

in Sikhim. The most deadly, A. ferox was described by Dr. Buchanan- 
Hamilton in his "Nepal". A. vncinatum is confined to Sikhim and is 
very rare, its stems turn. A. luridum is found at a higher elevation, 
about 14,000 feet, and has dull red flowers. A. faltnatum has kidney- 
shaped leaves and greenish-blue flowers and grows at elevations of 
8 — 10,000 feet. The two species hetero-thyllum and lycoctonum are 
confined to the Western Himalayas. The former yields the " alees" 
drug of the Indian bazaars. 



50. This sketch-map gives a correction in detail to the larger map (appearing 
on p. 349) and is derived from Native Explorer M.II.s report which was 
not available when the original map was prepared. This explorer also 
reports that the track from Dingri passes to the south of the Palgo lake. 
See also note No. 52. 




•'fMtfi-ralC ---' 

\ * " "*■ " 

* D~Tf * 
U —f r 7=k, a 



WEoz-rewt — 

51. My Buddhism of Tibet, pp. 67, 370, 371, 382 f.n., 430. 

52. The chief pass in this picture appears to be the -'Pangu" pass (see Map 

in preceding note No. 50 where this name is spelt ''Pangji") traversed 
by Native Explorer M.H. in passing from Nepal to Tibet in 18S5 — 86, 
of whose report no full details seem to have been published. He 
mentions that he saw from this pass, a high black rock with the 
outline of a horse crowning an inaccessible spur, also ice-tables, and 
masses of rock piled up in the form of pillars 20 to 30 feet high and 
standing on solid beds of ice. 

53. D. Freshfield, '-Geograph. Jour." loc. cit. 

54. The only Europeans who seem to have passed along part of this ridge 

beyond this point are Captn. W. Sherwill. Messrs. White and G. Gammie 


and possibly "A Lady Pioneer". Baboo P. N. Bose accompanied 
Mr. White as geologist {Records Geological Survey India, XX1Y. 
j). 46 etc.) 

55. In Jour. Bengal Asiatic Socy., 1862, p. 457 etc. The words and sentences 

in brackets have been added by me, in order to render the narrative 
more intelligible. 

56. In Jour. Royal Geographical Socy. loc. cit. 

57. The bearings from the cliff above the Semo or Semarum pass, which on 

my map should be marked three-eighths of an inch N.N.W. from the 
end of my route as given therein, were: — 

S. Peak of Khumbu Kang-nga-rawa 282 W. 

Peak Xo. XIII 293 „ 

Everest 296 ., 

Middle Peak of Lamo Rang 353° 53 

Jannu io°.5 E. 

Rabur, S. Peak 47 „ 

Rang-tsen (N. Peak) 68°.5 „ 

Rang La-Xangma 77 „ 

Rang La Peak 98 „ 



Abor tribe, 95, 329. 

Aconite, poison of, 99, 324; species 

of, 435- 

Air, rarefied, 185, 187; alarming 
effects of, 207, 221. 

Alpine vegetation, 186; origin of, 
220, 433. 

Alps compared with Himalayas, 1,34. 

Altar in Lama-temples, 155. 

Altitude, and boiling point, 187; 
estimation of, by native explorers, 
190; vegetation of high, 220. 

Amban, 243, 272. 

Aneroid, rapid rise of, 24; uncer- 
tainty of small, 192, 392. 

Annexation, English policy of, [48. 
Antelope, Tibetan, 225. 
Antivenene, my researches on, 

325, 435- 
Apricots, 167. 

Ararat, a Sikhimese Mt., 111. 
Arrows, chief weapon of Tibetans, 

210; poisoned, 99, 326. 
Arums, 260. 

Arun river, 120; and Limboos, 149. 
Assessment, primitive, 106. 
Atmosphere, pressure of, 187, 221. 
Avalanche of rocks, 198. 
Ayu Yaks, 169. 

Badamtam, 68, 74. 

Bamboo, bridges of, 123, 131; giant, 

260; jugs, 74; uses of, 294. 
Band of Buddhist temples, 136, 162. 
Bap pheasant, 113. 
Barberry, 182. 
Bath, curious hot, 239; in hot 

springs, 202. 
Bazaar of Darjeeling, 48. 
Bear, black Himalayan, 24, 77, 426; 

mauled by, 338; great yellow, 223. 
Beer, Himalayan, 74; in Tibet, 212. 
Beggars, 26; call of, 48. 
Bhim Tal lake, bursting of, 201. 

Bhotan, 246; chiefs of, 247; people 
of, 249, 259; forts, 243, 289; British, 

243. 245- 
Bhoteas, see Bhotiyas. 
Bhotiyas, 45, 93 ; of Sikhim, 93, 103 ; 

dress of, 103; women, 46. 
Bis cobra, 82. 
Blanford, W. T„ viii, 58. 
Blindness, snow-, 179. 
Blistered feet, 141. 
Bogto, legend of, 401. 
Bones, sash of carved human, no; 

trumpet of human, 424. 
Bonvalot, M., 414. 



Boodhist, see Buddhist. 

Boundary commission, 410, 411. 

Brahmaputra river, problem of, 66. 

Brambles, 23, 91. 

Brick-tea, 248. 

Bridges, cane, 123, 131; cantilever, 
166; rope, 124; snow, 234; delay- 
ed by broken, 161. 

Brigands, 397, 400. 

Buckwheat, 284. 

Buddhas, living, 140. 
Buddhist, priests, 45, 47, 75, 76; 
temple, 68, 136; bloody sacrifices, 


Burhel wild sheep, 113, 216. 

Butterflies, at great altitudes, 402; 
breeding ground of, 298; mi- 
micking dead leaves, 114. 

Buxar, 247. 

Campbell, Dr. A. Founder of 
Darjeeling, 39; introduced tea- 
plant, 39; imprisoned by Sikhim- 
ese, 149. 

Camping under difficulties, 369. 

Cane-bridge, crossing a rotten, 173; 
mechanism of, 127. 

Canes, rattan, 166. 

Cantilever bridges, 167. 

Cairn, of dead fellow-traveller, 194, 
195; worship of the, 115. 

Caravan, our, 63. 

Cattle murrain, 228, 434. 

Cave, bivouac in, 426, 427 ; long, 121. 

Chabab pass, 404, 424, 425. 

Chakoong, 159. 

Cham-dong pheasant, 113. 

Cheebo-Lama, 141. 

Chief, reception by, 102, 143. 

Chinese, intrigues of, in Sikhim, 151, 
410, 413 ; deceit of, 413; minister 
of Lhasa, 243, 272; (Anglo-) con- 
vention, 273; passports, 150. 

Chola pass, 283, 285 ; etymology, 140. 

Chola range, 13. 

Cholamoo, 225. 

Chomiomo, 31, 231. 

Chomnaga, 140. 

Choombi, 150; hot springs in, 189; 

view into N.W., 188; traverse 

of, 228. 
Choomolhari peak, 33, 278. 
Choonabati, 23. 

Choongtang monastery, 161, 230. 
Chorten, 64, 69. 
Chortennima misplaced west on 

map, over Chabuk pass. 
Chough crow, 204. 
Chowbanjan, 365. 
Chowries, 168. 
Chumulari, 33, 278. 
Cinchona plantations, 298. 
Citrons, wild, 129. 
Cliffs, crossing, on ladders, 159. 
Cloister in monastery, 139. 
Clouds rising, 3, 80. 
Coal, 22. 

Cold of snow-passes, 189, 194,208,400. 
Colours, usefulness of specific, 122. 
Conch-shell bracelets, 173. 
Cooch tribe, 291, 292, 431. 
Cooking in camp, 88; at great 

altitudes, 187. 
Coolies as porters, 52, 63, 64. 
Copper mines, 101, 242 ; dread of, 101. 
Corries, 403. 



Cosi, see Kosi. 

Cost of travelling in Himalayas, 54. 

Cotton, cultivation of, 84; tree, 9. 

Cradle, Nepalese, 17. 

Crime, punishments of, in Nepal, 

107 ; in Tibet, 213. 
Cryptomerias, 41. 

Csoma, the Hungarian, 50. 
Cuckoo, 29. 
Cucumbers, wild, 361. 
Curio-sellers, 42. 
Currants, wild, 180, 362. 
Cymbals in temples, 155. 


D l peak, 235, 386. 

D' „ 31, 234. 

D : ' „ 31. 

Daling fort, 289. 

Damsang fort, 243. 

Dandy, 40. 

Daphne bark, for paper, 155. 

Darjeeling. Cession of, to English, 
148', founding of, 38, 149; exten- 
sion, 149, 1 50- growth of,38; journey 
to, 2—27; expense of living, 53; 
market, 42 ; name, 50, 299; people 
of, 28, 44; rainfall at, 299, 434; 
situation, 27 ; view from, 28, 29. 

Death of fellow-traveller, 193, 194. 

Deb Rajah, 247, 249. 

Decoying birds, 78. 

Deer, barking, 77; Sambhar, 260. 

Deluge, legend of, no, 115. 

Denjong, 431. 

Denudation, 37. 

Desgodins, Father, 244. 

Devil, of hot springs, 203; of the 
houses, 97; paintings of, 73; wor- 
ship of, 74, 154. 

Dewan, 142. 

Dharma Rajah, 249. 

Dhaulagiri, 347. 

Dhimal tribe, 86. 

Dihong river, problem of, 66. 

Dikchu, river, 133, cane-bridge, 131. 

Dimo yaks, 169. 

Dingri, 351, 406. 

Dipper, 206. 

Divorce amongst Tibetans, 108. 

Dogs, wild, 324. 

Dongkia pass, 31, 165, 175, 224; 
game at, 225; peak of, 31 ; cold at, 
194, 209. 

Dooars 290, 435; annexation of, 247. 

Doobdi monastery, 31. 

Dookpa Bhotiyas, 45, 249. 

Dragon-lizard, 81. 

Dudh-Kosi river, 406. 

Dui pass, 395. 

Earth-sculpture, 37. 

Edelweiss, 186, 389, 404. 

Eggs, significance of present of, 87. 

Empire-building, 147. 
Equipment for travel, 5S, 60, 61. 
Etymology <>!' place-names, 144- 



Everest, Colonel, 4.31. 

Everest, mount. Discovery of, 345; 
how named, 345 ; its native names, 
346, 348; its environs, 349, 351, 
436; inconspicuousness of, 340; 
view from Sandook-phu, 331, 333, 
340, 342, 343; from Senchal, 33; 
its form, 352, 419, 420; possibility 

of ascending, 359; axis of range 

of, 406; peaks higher than, 359, 

391, 406. 
Exorcism, 312. 

Expense of travel in Sikhim, 51. 
Explorer K. P., 63—67, 226; U. G., 

121; M. H., 436. 

Face, blackening of, 179. 

Fairs, 70. 

Faloot, 334, 337; view from, 340. 

Feet, remedy for blistered, 141. 

Ferns, 14; edible, 241; tree- 24, 73. 

Festival, Nepalese, 69, 79; Tibetan, 

Feudal government, 105. 
Firs, 181. 
Fishing, 6, 81, 243; with bamboo 

weirs, 117; with push-nets, 6, 7. 
Flora, origin of Alpine, 220, 433. 
Flutes, 63, 294. 
Fly pests, 121. 

Forests, tropical 18; stillness of at 
noon, 84; semi-tropical, 76; of 
temperate zone, 24, 256, 257. 

Fortifications, Tibetan, 267, 271; 
storming of, 268. 

Fossils, 407, 408. 

Freshfield, D., on possibility of 
scalingEverest,359; also Kanchen, 

Frogs, as food, 98; worship of, 315. 
Frost-bite, death from, 224. 
Frozen in snow, 334. 
Fyoomgang, 141. 

Game in uplands, 113, 114,399,424. 
Gamotang, 112, 398, 425. 
Gangtok, 241, 409. 
Gaurisankar, not Everest, 346. 
Gazelle, Tibetan, 225. 
Geological formations, 72, 37, 82; of 

Kanchen-junga, 384, 385; of 

Tibetan plateau, 407. 
Ghoom, 25. 

Glacial action, traces of, 205, 275, 403. 
Glaciers, lowest limit of, 205, 206; 

smallest on southern slopes, 205 ; 

of Kanchen-junga, 380, 381, 393, 

421, 423; direct route to, 375. 

Gneiss, 82, 367, 395. 

Gnathong, 274; fort at, 275; cold 
at, 276. 

Goats, wild, 113, 167. 

Goitre, 156, 261; amongst animals, 

Gold, mines in Tibet, 408 ; dust from 
Tibet, 248; import to Nepal, 283. 

Goggles, 179, 272, 276. 

Gooral, 167. 

Goorkhas, origin of, 301; non- 
Hindoos, 302, 308; aggressiveness 
of, 148, 302; bravery of, 303. 

Gooroong nomads, 307, 368. 



Gora pass, 198, 226, 228. 
Government, of Bhotan, 247 ; of 

Nepal, 304; of Sikhim, 105, 147. 
Graham, Mr. W. Climbing in Sikhim, 

54, 380; ascent of 'Kabru', 389; 

Sir M. Conway on, 392; Colonel 

Tanner on, 393; peak probably 

ascended, 393, 421, 422 

Grass, giant or elephant, Q. 
Grazing-stations, 174, 372; highest, 

Great Rung-eet, see Rang-eet. 
Guicha pass, 3 r ; direct route to, 375 ; 

glaciers of, 378; view from, 380. 
Guides, want of, 54. 


Hailstones, large, 116. 

Ha-pa Tibetans, 174. 

Hare, piping, 206. 

Harman, Captn. Researches of, on 
Tsangpo river, 66; death of, from 
frost-bite, 224. 

Harpa Tibetans, 174. 

Harvest home, 69. 

Hastings, Warren, missions of to 
Tibet, 231, 279. 

Himalayas. Attraction of sea, 34 ; axis 
of, 385 ; surpassing height of, 1 (dia- 
gram), 34; the true, 215; 'Outer', 
385; of Central Nepal, 356; of 
N.W. Provinces, n; of Panjab, 9; 
of Sikhim, 9, 10. 

Hodgson, Brian, 305, 430. 

Hoffmann, Mr. T., ix, 233. 
Hooker, Sir Joseph, journals of, 

vii, 430; imprisoned by Sikhim- 

ese, 149. 
Hornbills, 157. 
Hot springs, in Choombi, 189; at 

Momay, 216; at Yoomtang, 202; 

medicinal virtues of, 202; analysis 

of water of, 203, 443. 
House gods, 97. 
Human-bones, sash of, carved no; 

trumpet of, 424. 
Humming birds, 78. 
Hungarians as Tartars, 50. 
Hunter, Sir W. W., 430. 
Hypsometer, suggestion for im- 
proved, 190, 191. 

Ice caves, 233. 

Ice climbing, 54, 388, 390. 

Incarnate Buddhas, 141. 

Incense resin, 263 ; twigs, 426. 
Iron ore, 22. 

Jackals, 335. 
Jakcham, 31. 
Jalang bridge, 129. 

Jalapahar, 25, 255; Lepcha name Jhooming, 116. 

Jannu, 3, 31, 416, 419. 

Jelep pass, 254, 278; legends of, 285. 

Jew's harp, 294. 

of, 38. 

• Jigatzi, see Shiga-tso. 



Jimdar tribe, 306. 
Jong fort, 108. 
Jong-pon, 210, 232. 
Jongri, 375, 388. 

Jorpokree, in spring, 314; in au- 
tumn, 36 r. 

Jubonu, ascent of, 388. 

Jungle, tropical, 9, 18; Sounds of, 

76; noontide stillness of, 84; food 

from, 241. 
Junnoo, 3, 31, 416, 419. 


Kaboor, 419. 

Kabroo, see Kabru. 

Kabru, 3, 31, 330, 379, 393- from 
Kang La,4i6; from below Tangkar 
pass, 183 ; from the west plains, 
395; ascent by Mr. Graham, 389; 
Sir M. Conway on, 392; Colonel 
Tanner on, 393; peak probably 
mistaken for, 393, 421, 422. 

Kachin tribe, 95. 

Kala pak-tang, 229. 

Kala tso, 229. 

Kakani ridge, 346. 

Kaleej pheasant, 113. 

Kalimpong, 247, 262 ; annexation of, 
245, 249; mission at, 243. 

Kambajong, 175, 232. 

Kanchen-junga, 2, 3, 31, 386; sun- 
rise on, 29; from Senchal, 30; 
from Sandook-phu, 330; glaciers 
of, ^eastern) 234, (western) 395, 
423; direct route to, 375, 388; S.E. 
face, 381; possible ascent of, 384; 
geology of, 384; 386; worship of, 
216, 217, 386, 387; Lepcha name 
of, 387. 

Kanchen-jow, 31, 114, 231. 

Kang (La) pass, 331, 416, 420,421; 
Nangma, 416. 

Kang-chen, see Kanchen-junga. 

Kang-tsen, 3, 31, 392, 393, 416, 417. 

Katmandu, 112, 340, 346. 

Kazis, 102; list of, 432. 

Kedoom, 167, 193. 

Kham, 146. 

Khamba-jong, 175, 232. 

Khas tribe, 306. 

Khatmandu, 112, 340, 346. 

Khoomboo, 406. 

Khumbu, 406. 

Kinchinjhow, 31, 114, 231. 

Kinchinjinga, see Kanchen-junga. 

King, of Bhotan, 247 ; of Nepal, 305 ; 
of Sikhim— dynasty restored by 
English, 148; appearance, 145; as 
priest, 146; palace of, 141; flight, 
409; restoration, 409. 

Kintoop, explorer of Tibet, 54, 
65, 226. 

Kiranti tribe, 121, 306, 307. 

Kitam, 84. 

Koch tribe, 291, 292, 431. 

Krait snake, 240. 

Kurseong, 23. 

Lachen, pass, 160; valley, 230; Lay 

of, 231. 
Lachoong, pass, t6o; river, 160, 165; 

village, 171, 180. 

Ladders across cliffs, 159. 
Lakes formed by landslips, 111, 112, 
198, 201. 



Lamas, 25, 47, 75, 135, 140, 154; as 
living Buddhas, 141 ; intrigues by, 
in Sikhim, 151, 176; battle amongst 
rivals, 242; revolt against, 163. 

Landslips 23, 73; of rocks, 198. 

Lanok valley, 236. 

Lanterns, feast of, 69, 79. 

Lapchi Kang, 348. 

Larch, Himalayan, 180. 

Laterite, 22. 

Law-code of Tibetans, 106. 

Leaf, mimicry by butterflies, 114; 
by locusts, 240. 

Lebong, 73. 

Leech-bites, remedy for, 141. 

Leeches, voracious, 130; nicotine 
and, 133. 

Legends of, Chola, 285 ; Gamotang, 
399; Ge, 196; Rang-eetandTeesta, 
in ; Tendoag, no. 

Leopard, 122; snow-, 396; trap for, 
396; use of markings of, 122. 

Lepchas, 44, 63, 78, 93; women, 99; 
character, 93; dress, 94, 99, 100; 
environments, 93; matriarchy, 99; 
tribal names, 92, 423; distribution, 
243; temples, 156; dying out, 293; 
knife, 95 ; music and songs, 294. 

Lete, valley, 176. 

Lhasa, railway to, 281, 282; lay- 
governor of, 414 \ Chinese minister 
of, 243; Manning's route to, 279. 

Life, Lamas' regard for, 164, 213. 

Limboo tribe, 119, 120, 307, 349. 

Limestone, 22, 82 ; on Tibetan 
plateau, 407, 408. 

Lingtoo, Tibetan fort at, 152, 226; 
storming of, 268. 

Loads for coolies, 52, 55. 

Locusts, plagues, 253, 254; eaten 
by Nepalese, 253. 

Luck, Goddess of Good, 69, 396. 


Macaulay (Colman), mission of, 150, 

210, 231. 
Madder, wild, 85. 
Magar tribe, 306, 309. 
Magnolias, 259, 315. 
Mahanadi river, 5. 
Mahaseer, 81. 

Mainom mt., no, 117; caves in, 121. 
Malaria, deadlv, 5, 6, 81, 83; limit 

of, 85. 
Mangar, 306, 309. 
Mango, wild, 119. 
Markings, usefulness of, 114, 122. 
Marmots, 219. 
Mascotte, a, 196, 399. 
Mass in Buddhist temples, 154. 
Mastiff, Tibetan, 170. 

Matriarchy, 99, 292, 432. 

Meat, raw, eaten by Tibetans, 222. 

Mech tribe, 6, 292. 

Medicinal herbs, 371. 

Men, fairy wild, legend of, 223. 

Mermaids, 404. 

Mica, 20, 407. 

Migo peak, 370. 

Migrating plants, 19. 

Mikado as priest-king, 147. 

Milarapa's hermitage on Everest,35 1. 

Millet beer, 74; ode to, 76. 

Mimosa, 9. 

Mines, copper, 101, 242 ; native dread 

of, 1 01, 408. 
Mimicry in butterflies 114; locusts 




Momay, 208, 216. 
Mon country, 93. 
Monal pheasants, 113, 401. 
Monastery, Buddhist, at Ging, 73; 
at Tumlong, 137; our quarters in, 

i35. 139- 
Monba, 92. 

Money, absence of, 92. 
Monks in temple, 154. 
Months for travelling, 57. 
Moormi, 45, 307. 
Morang, 431. 
Morik tribe, 92. 

Mountain, railway, 5, 13, 22 ; sculp- 
ture, 37 ; worship of, no, 115, 216, 
347, 35 1, 386. 

Mt. Blanc compared with Himalayan 
peaks, 1 (diagram), 34, 185. 

Murwa beer, 74, 135; ode to, 76. 

Music, of Lepchas, 294; of Tibetans, 
314; in temple, 136; beggar's 
call, 48. 

Musk, 248. 

Musk-deer, 334. 

Mystic spells, 87. 


Naga, tribes, 95; dragons, 219. 

Naini Tal lake, 201. 

Nakoo pass, 236. 

Namehi, 101. 

Names of places, how coined, 144, 

Nangna pass, 236, 237. 

Narseng, 31, 377. 

Native explorers, altitude observa- 
tions of, 190. 

Nego cave, 370, 426, 427. 

Neh Mendong, 121. 

Nepal, political position of, 304; 
ruler of, 303 ; closure of, 422, 423 ; 

Eastern, 349, 406; Himalayas of, 

Nepalese, 20, 21, 44, 301 — 304; 

character of, 303; women, 17, 21, 

44, 310; dress of, 45, 49, 310; Bho- 

tiyas, 46 \ invasion of Sikhim, 171 ; 

colonization of Sikhim, 39, 152, 243. 
Nettle, cloth of fibre of, 85; deadly, 

Newar tribe, 307 ; bankers, 242. 
New Year of Tibetans, 256. 
Nicotine and leeches, 133. 
Nomads, 174, 284. 
North Western Himalayas, 9, 11, 84. 

Oaths, in Tibet, 107; by dipping 

hands in yak's blood, 163. 
Offices in Sikhim, list of titles, 432. 
Om Mani Padme Hoong, 25. 
Oma pass, 397. 
Orange trees, 19, 85. 

Orchids, epiphytic, 24, 79, 257, 259; 
home of, 315 ; rare, 316 ; extermin- 
ation of, 317. 

Ordeal, Trial by, 107. 

Orisons in Buddhist temples, 136. 

Ovis ammon, 219, 225, 370. 



Packing up, 52, 55, 58. 

Pagla Jhora, 23. 

Pakyong, 242. 

Pahariyas, 306. 

Palace of Sikhim, 141. 

Palm, rattan, 128. 

Pandim, 31, 376, 377; direct route 
to, 375 ; glaciers of, 375, 378 ; ascent 
impracticable, 377. 

Pangji pass, 436. 

Pangu pass, 436. 

Panjab Himalayas, 9, 10. 

Paper laurel, 155, 319. 

Partridges, snow-, 204, 206. 

Pashok, 260. 

Pass of Chabab, 403; Chola, 284 
Dongkia, 31, 225 ; Dui, 395; Gora 
198; Guicha, 31, 377; Jelep, 278 
Kang, 416, 417; Oma, 397; Pata 
227; Pangu, 436; Seeboo, 114 
Tangkar, 191; worship of spirits 
of, 115; closed by Tibetans 
guard, 204. 

Pata pass, 227 ; lake of, 228. 

Peaches, 19, 167. 

Peak XIII, 331, 3^3, 342, 347, 353, 
355, 37°, 420. 

Peak XX, 346, 349. 

Pedong, 244, 263; annexation of, 

245, 247- _ 
Pemiongchi monastery, 31, 116, 176. 
Perpetual snow, line of, 187. 
Phaloong glaciers, 206. 
Pheasants, 113, 204, 401 ; silver-, 159; 

snow-, 424. 

Phodang monastery, 135, 136, 139. 

Phosphorescence, 182. 

Photography, glass plates v. films, 83 ; 
native dread of, 85. 

Picturesque, Eastern ideas of the, 36. 

Pig, wild, scare by, 293. 

Pigeon, snow-, 181. 

Pines, Cheer, 84. 

Pipon, 157. 

Pipsee flies, 121. 

Plains, view of, from hills, 14, 33. 

Plants, migrating, 19; of high alti- 
tudes, 220. 

Poisoned arrows, 99, 326. 

Poisonous, aconite, 324, 435 ; air, 
185; grass, 401, 435. 

Polyandry in Sikhim, 197. 

Ponies, Tibetan, 40, 196, 248. 

Porterage, 27, 52, 63, 64, 264. 

Pradakshina rite, 115. 

Prayers in Buddhist temples, 15s. 

Praying-barrel, 109; -cylinders, 25, 
47, 143; -flags, 26, 68; -water-mills, 
157 ; -wheels, 25, 47, 143. 

Preparations for journey, 50. 

Presentation scarf, 161, 172, 176, 208. 

Presents, to Lamas, 140 ; from people, 
119; to officials, 154; to people, 
100, 158. 

Pressure of atmosphere, 24, 187, 
221 ; on ear, 24. 

Property amongst Indo-Chinese 
tribes, 105. 

Punishments for crime, 107, 213. 

Pundim, see Pandim. 

Queen of Sikhim, 145; as polyan- I Quinine, cheapening of, 298. 
drist, 197. 




Railway, mountain, 59, 13, 20, 22; 
to Choombi valley and Lhasa, 
2S1, 282. 

Rainfall, to; in Sikhim and Choombi, 
434; in Bhotan, 290; in Darjeeling, 
299, 434; in relation to glaciers, 
205, 206. 

Rajah, of Bhotan, 247 ; of Nepal, 305 ; 
of Sikhim, 145 ;ofKuchBehar, 292. 

Rang-eet river, 34, 80, 1 10 ; crossing 
in canoe, 83; fishing in, 82; junc- 
tion with Teesta, 250, 251. 

Rang-po river, 117. 

Rangiroon forest, in, 256, 257. 

Rangliot, in. 

Rang nyo-oong, in. 

Rarefied air, alarming effects of, 
1S5, 207, 221. 

Raspberries, 23, 91, 361. 

Ratong river, 498. 
Rattan palms, 128. 
Reception, at Buddhist temple, 162 ; 

by Sikhimese chiefs, 102, 142. 
Rhenok, 264. 
Rhododendron, forest of, in bloom, 

320; in Chola range, 270; as trees, 

319; poisoning by leaves of, 323. 
Rhubarb, giant wild, 185. 
Rivers, erosion by, 37, 289. 
Rocks, erosion of, 37, 206 ; splitting 

by frost, 201. 
Rong, tribal name of Lepchas, 92, 

no, 295, 435. 
Rong Shar, 349, 407. 
Rose, wild, 361. 
Rungaroon, in, 256, 257. 
Rung-eet, see Rang-eet. 
Ryot river, 133, 134. 

Sacrifices, bloody, by Buddhist 

priests, 74. 
Sakya monastery, 49. 
Sal forest, 13, 15; incense-resin 

of, 263. 
Salt, trade in Tibetan, 98, 248, 285, 

408, 420. 
Salutation, Peculiar Tibetan, 171, 

172, 279. 
Sambhar deer, 260. 
Sand-grouse, 225. 
Sandook-phu, in spring, 324; in 

autumn, 361; the name, 324; view, 

327, 33°, 333- 
Scarf presentation, 161, 172, 176, 208. 
Schlagintweit on Everest, 345, 352. 
Scorpions, 369. 
Screw pine, 18. 
Sea, attraction of, by Himalayas, 35. 

Season for travelling, 57. 

Seeboo pass, 215. 

Semo pass, 415, 437. 

Semoram pass, 415, 437. 

Senchal, 29, 355; view from, 29 — 39; 
meaning of name, 39 ; forest on, 

Serbo pass, 215. 

Serpents, 77, 240. 

Service in temple, 154. 

Sharpa Bhotiyas, 46, 373, 374, 406. 

Shales, 22, 82. 

Sheep, Tibetan, 158, 211; wild, dig- 
ging salt, 113. 

Shell bracelets, 173. 

Sherpa Bhotiyas, 46, 373, 406. 

Shigatse, 175. 

Shingsapa tribe, 407. 

Sibo river, 198, 226; glacier in, 227. 



Sikhim, 9, 10, 84; annexation of, 
149, 152; birds of, 431; Chinese 
intrigues in, 93, 150, 151, 410,413 ; 
King and Queen of, 145; flight 
of King, 409; slavery in, 103, 149; 
Tibetan invasion of, 93; tribes 

of, 43- 

Siligoori, 2; meaning of name, 431. 

Silok-vok, 101. 

Simvovonchu, 235. 

Singalelah range, 13, 364. 

Siniolchu, 31, 234. 

Singpho or Kachins, 95. 

Siwaliks, 9, 385. 

Slaves in Sikhim, 103, 149. 

Snakes, 77, 239; my researches on 
venom of, 325, 435. 

Snow, line of perpetual, 187 ; -bears, 
223 ; -leopard, 396 ; -partridge, 204 ; 
-pheasant, 424; -pigeons, 204; sun- 
stroke in snow, 190, 194; -storm, 
224, 401. 

Snow-blindness, 179. 

Someshwar range and snows, 357. 

Sonada, 24. 

Songs, Tartar, 18,76,87 ;Lepcha, 295. 

Sookna, 13, 385. 

Spectre of Brocken, 362. 

Spells, 87 ; in Tibetan warfare, 269. 

Spiders, gorgeous giant, 240. 

Spinning, 100, 296. 

Spirits of mountains, no, 351, 386; 

of passes, 115; of rivers, no, 262, 

265, 301; of lakes, 401, 404; of 

hot springs, 189, 202. 
Springs, hot, 189, 202; analysis of 

v/ater of, 202, 433. 
Stag, the Sikhim, 204. 
Strawberries, 23. 
Sub-Himalayas, 385. 
Sunbirds, 78. 

Sunrise on snowy range, 29, 386. 
Sunset on snows, 337. 
Sunstroke in snows, 190, 194. 
Swing at fair, 69, 71. 

Taboo, 97, 313. 

Talisman, legend of the lost, 197. 

Tanner, Colonel, sketches by, ix; 
on Everest, 346. 

Tangkar pass, 176, 180, 188, 189. 

T'ar, wild goat, 113. 

Tartars, Tibetans as, 212; Hungari- 
ans, as 50. 

Tashiding, 116, 368. 

Tashihumpo Governor of, 232; le- 
gend of, 196. 

Taxidermists, 63, 362. 

Tcheeboo Lama, 141. 

Tea-plant. Introduced to Darjeeling 
by Dr. Campbell, 39, 73 ; blights 
of, 6, 250, 253 ; other leaves used 
as tea, 100 ; Chinese brick-tea, 248. 

Tea service in temples, 155. 

Teesta river, in; Tibetan name of, 
129; Lepcha name of, 129; junc- 
tion with Rang-eet, 250; bridge 
over, 123, 260. 

Temple, Buddhist, at Darjeeling, 68; 
at Choongtang, 162 ; at Ging, 73; 
at Phodang, 135, 137 ; band of, 136. 

Tendong, legend of, no; worship 
of, 115; caves in, 121. 

Tengri town, 351, 352, 406. 

Tent, frozen, 192. 

Terai, annexation of, 149; unhealth- 
iness of, 5 ; vegetation of, 9, 18, 289. 

Theebaw as priest-king, 147. 

Thlonok valley, 236. 

Thrush, new species of, 144, 432. 


I N I > I '. X 

Tibet, annexation of, viii, 282; 
frontier delimitation troubles, 152, 
409; national party in, 413; trade 
with, 218, 259, 410; treaty with, 
401 ), 411; Chinese intrigues in, 
i5°> 151, 410; invades Sikhim, 

Tibetans, 23, 25, 43, 46, 93 ;character, 
212, 213; dress, 104; food, 222; 
fortifications, 267; guard, 193, 207, 
20S; mastiff, 170; ponies, 40, 
196, 248; saddle, 196; salute, 277; 
sheep, 158, 211; soldiers, 269; war- 
fare rules, 270; weapons, 210, 268. 

Ticks, 122. 

Tientsin treaty, 150. 

Tiger-hill, 33; see Senchal. 

Timber for Tibet, 206. 

Tinki fort, 407. 

Toloong valley, 156, 158, 233 sepul- 
chre of the Kings, 156. 
Tonglu, 300, 320, 361, 385. 
Toon tree, 84. 

Torture of criminals in Tibet, 213. 
Trade with Tibet, 150, 248, 259, 410. 
Train, 5, 9, 13, 20. 
Tree-ferns, 24, 73. 
Trees, upper limit of, 182, 206. 
Tribal re-initiation, 366. 
Tsang, government of, 232; sheep, 

Tsangpo river, problems of, 66. 
Tsoontang. 163. 
Tumlong monastery, 133 ; our cloister 

in, 139. 
Tungra pass, 176. 


Valleys, glacier-formed, 206, 403. 
Vegetation of high altitudes, 220; of 
damp temperate zone, 24, 257. 

Vipers, 240. 

Volcanic action in Himalayas, 386. 


Waloong, 395. 
Weapons of Tibetans, 210. 
Wheel swing, 69, 71. 
White, Mr. J. C, ix, 233, 236, 242,383. 
Wild men, legends of hairy, 223. 
Wild yak's horns as drinking-cups 

Wine of country, 74, ode to 76. 

Witchcraft, 312. 

Woodpeckers, immense variety 

of, 119. 
Worship of Everest, 348, 351; of 

Kanchen-junga, 386; of Tendong, 

no, 115. 

Yaks, 168 •, meaning of name, 179; 

climbing agility of, 173, 405 ; milk 

of, 174, 284; riding, 223, 397; 

disease of, 228; sacrifice of, 163; 

wild, 225. 
Valoong river, 405. 

Yams, wild, 98, 241. 

Yampoong, 371. 

Yangma tribe, 371. 

Yatung, 267, 279; rainfall of, 434. 

Yoomtang, 204. 

Zemoo glacier, 233. 

Zones, climatic, 9, 73, 182. 

London : 1 

T "' ersit 




JUL 24 1933 

5 1937 

R 11 

6Way5 2Lu 
CT1 3 1955 LV 


DEC 2 71962 
OCT 291966 5 


DEC 16'66-10 AM 


NOV 5 1987 


FEB 9 2001 
fEB 1 1 2Q04 

LD 21-50m-l,*3 

YD 10578